UK manufacturing grows at fastest rate in two years

UK manufacturing registered its fourth monthly increase on the purchasing managers index, which is evidence, economists said, that the economy is picking up steam.

The sector jumped to 54.6 on the PMI scale, its highest reading since March 2011 and the highest rate of expansion since February 2011.

“July’s UK CIPS/Markit report on manufacturing is the most encouraging sign yet that the industrial sector’s recovery is gathering momentum,” Samuel Tombs at Capital Economics said.

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“The recovery looks all the more impressive given that demand is still being held back by weak euro-zone demand...for now, then, it seems increasingly likely that the manufacturing sector will share in the economic recovery now underway and will assist in the economy’s long-overdue rebalancing,” he added.

PMI is a measure of sentiment, with a reading of more than 50 indicating an expansion.

Elsewhere, China’s manufacturing PMI was unexpectedly strong, with a reading of 50.3 in July, higher than June’s 50.1.