UK manufacturing order books look slightly better in March as Markit purchasing managers index data sees a rise from 47.9 to 48.3. An improvement to 48.7 had been anticipated. As the number is still south of 50, the manufacturing sector can still be presumed to be contracting but now at a slower rate.
Rob Dobson, Senior Economist at survey compilers Markit:
The onus is now on the far larger service sector to prevent the UK from slipping into a triple-dip recession. The ongoing weakness of manufacturing and the hard to estimate impact of bad weather on first quarter growth suggest that this is still touchand-go and that any expansion will be disappointing nonetheless.