The UK's manufacturing sector grew at its fastest rate in eight months in March, in what could prove another boost to the Conservatives' economic record heading into May's General Election.
Markit's Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) came in at 54.4 in March, up on February's 54.1 and its highest since July last year.
The boost came from strong domestic demand as consumers spending power grows in the face of zero inflation, as well as an up tick in export orders.
"The ongoing expansions in production and new orders both gathered pace, leading to a further rise in workforce numbers. Price pressures emanating from the sector also remained on the downside, as input costs and output charges both fell," the survey found.
"The sector is on course for output growth ranging around 0.6 per cent over the opening quarter as a whole, a positive contribution to broader economic expansion and its best performance since the first half of last year." said Markit senior economist Rob Dobson.