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Strong sterling and China fears hit factories

The Markit/CIPS purchasing managers' index for the manufacturing sector fell to 51.5 last month from 51.9 in July – well below the long-term average of 54.2 – as sterling's strength and sluggish overseas demand continued to weigh on UK factories. While the British economy expanded by 0.7% in the second quarter of this year, manufacturing recorded a 0.3% decline. Economists said yesterday's PMI reading was consistent with a further 0.2% drop in the sector. Consumer goods continued to power ahead, but exporters limped along as new business fell for the fifth successive month. Howard Archer at IHS Global Insight said: 'Lacklustre manufacturing activity is worrying for hopes that UK growth can become more balanced and less dependent on the services sector and consumer spending.'

 

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