The UK's manufacturing sector suffered a slow end to the year, according to business survey figures published this morning.
Markit's purchasing managers' index dropped to a score of 51.9 in December from 52.5 the month before. Scores above 50 imply the sector grew over the month, with December's lower figure implying slower growth. It was also the lowest score for three months.
Rob Dobson, senior economist at Markit, said:
The UK manufacturing sector ended 2015 on a disappointing note, with its rate of growth slowing further from October’s recent high back down towards the stagnation mark. This suggests that industry will make, at best, only a marginal positive contribution to broader economic growth in the final quarter of the year.
Manufacturing output over the whole of 2015 may well have been less than in 2014 following the figures, Dobson said.
While manufacturers have been hit by the strength of the pound, which makes their goods more expensive in export markets, it was noted that it was helping to keep the price of imported goods low. Combined with low commodity prices globally, input prices dropped at "a steep pace" in December, Markit said.
The manufacturing sector makes up around 12 per cent of UK economic output. More attention will be given to the PMI for the service sector, which accounts up roughly 80 per cent of output, when it is published on Wednesday.