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Survey suggests UK manufacturing growth at three-year high

Activity in the UK’s manufacturing sector grew at its fastest pace for three years in April, according to a closely-watched survey.

The Markit/CIPS UK manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) rose to 57.3 from 54.2 in March, well above economists’ expectations. A reading above 50 indicates growth.

Markit said the sector enjoyed ”solid improvement” last month, with new orders being received at the fastest rate since January 2014.

The survey found the main source of new work came from the domestic market, but there was a ”solid increase in new export business” due to a combination of better global economic conditions and the weakening of the pound. The fall in the value of the pound since the Brexit vote in June has made UK goods cheaper for foreign buyers, but has also pushed up the cost of imports for UK companies.

Markit said price pressures faced by manufacturers remained ”elevated”, but noted that input cost inflation had ”eased significantly” since January.