Output in United Kingdom factories hits 17-month low during April

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But while domestic demand supported the rise in production, new orders from overseas fell for the fifth consecutive month in April.

The electronics sector racked up its 21st consecutive month of expansion, with last month's PMI at 52.2, down from 52.4 in March. According to the report, expansion was also recorded in the CBN's PMI for the nonmanufacturing sector as the index stood at 57.5 points in April 2018, indicating expansion in the Non-manufacturing PMI for the 12th consecutive month.

Adding to signs that global demand is softening, the new export orders subindex declined for the first time in 17 months. The drop in the annual growth rate was the sharpest from one month to the next since August 2009.

New orders remain too few and far between, with just a small improvement in the level of extra work reported this month. According to the panelists, stronger demand conditions supported the latest growth.

In response, firms passed on higher costs to their clients by again raising selling prices. Although solid, input cost inflation moderated for the second month in a row to the weakest since last September.

While India's retail inflation has eased this year and hit a five-month low of 4.28 per cent in March it remained above the Reserve Bank of India's (RBI) medium-term target of 4 per cent. All of the nations covered registered an increase in charges, with the steepest seen in Germany and the weakest in Greece.

"However, demand in worldwide markets remained relatively subdued, with new orders from overseas falling at the fastest pace in just over a year".

While the headline index improved over the month, IHS Markit said the details of the report were less impressive.

"Although growth has slowed markedly compared to the start of the year, December had seen the best performance in over 20 years of survey data collection, with factory activity clearly surging at an unsustainable rate".

"Anecdotal evidence from the surveys also highlights how demand has been curbed by other issues such as the stronger euro and rising prices", Williamson said. Uncertainty has also intensified due to worries regarding trade wars and Brexit, underscoring downside risks to the outlook. The former rose at the fastest pace in 2018 so far, while inventories of finished goods were depleted at the joint-fastest rate in the survey history.

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