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UK Manufacturing Growth At 4-month Low In February

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British manufacturing growth slowed to its weakest level in four months in February with manufacturers hastening to implement measures to cushion the adverse effects of Brexit, survey data from IHS Markit showed on Friday.

The IHS Markit/CIPS Purchasing Manaers' Index for manufacturing fell to a four-month low of 52 from 52.6 in January, which was revised down from 52.8. The reading was in line with economists' expectations.

A PMI reading above 50 suggests expansion in the factory sector. The latest score was the second lowest since July 2016, which was the month after the EU referendum.

As manufacturers intensified stockpiling raw materials, input inventories grew at a record rate. Firms also increased stockpiling of finished goods.

Brexit uncertainties also led business confidence to a record low and the rate of job losses hit a six-year high.

"Official data confirm that manufacturing is already in recession, and the February PMI offers little evidence that any short-lived boost to output from stock-building is sufficient to claw the sector back into growth territory," IHS Markit Director Rob Dobson said.

"Manufacturing and the broader UK economy therefore face a difficult 2019, with the slowdown being exacerbated later in the year as inventory positions are unwound and Brexit-related headwinds likely to linger," he added.

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