UK manufacturing activity expanded further in March, continuing on a recovery path as producers in the country start the year on on a bright note.
The seasonally adjusted Markit/CIPS Purchasing Manager's Index (PMI), which collates factory bosses' responses to questions on topics such as their level of new orders, climbed to an eight-month high of 54.4 in March, ticking higher from 54.0 in February.
The PMI has now remained above the neutral 50.0 mark for 24 consecutive months. Moreover, the average reading for the opening quarter as a whole (53.8) was the best growth outcome since the second quarter of last year.
Wednesday's headline reading was ahead of expectations and comes a day after fourth quarter 2014 GDP was revised higher to 0.6% on the previous three months, from a preliminary estimate of 0.5%, driven by rising house prices and robust consumer spending. The manufacturing data will be welcomed by the Conservative party ahead of May's general elections.
"Encouragingly, the new export orders balance rose to its highest level in seven months, suggesting that the recent rise in the pound is not acting as too big a constraint for now," said Vicky Redwood, economist with Capital Economics.
RBS sees better-than-expected price for its Aldgate office block: Bids for one of the Royal Bank of Scotland’s office buildings in Aldgate have entered a second round, with the taxpayer-owned lender set to gain a better-than-expected payout.
U.K. economy grew at fastest rate for nine years in 2014: The British economy grew at its fastest pace for nine years in 2014 as GDP figures showed the economy expanded by a stronger than expected 2.8% last year, according to the Office for National Statistics.
In the UK, the final total business investment recorded a rise of 3.70% in 4Q 2014, on a YoY basis. In the prior quarter, total business investment had advanced by a revised 7.40%. The preliminary figures had indicated an advance of 2.10%.
UK total business investment declined in 4Q 2014
On a QoQ basis, the final total business investment in the UK dropped 0.90% in 4Q 2014. Total business investment had risen by a revised 0.30% in the prior quarter. The preliminary figures had indicated a drop of 1.40%.
UK current account deficit fell in 4Q 2014
Current account deficit in the UK fell to £25.30 billion in 4Q 2014, compared to a revised current account deficit of £27.70 billion in the previous quarter. Market expectations were for the country's current account deficit to narrow to £22.00 billion.
UK GDP advanced more than expected in 4Q 2014
The final gross domestic product (GDP) climbed 3.00% on a YoY basis in the UK, in 4Q 2014, higher than market expectations for an advance of 2.70%. The preliminary figures had indicated an advance of 2.70%. GDP had advanced 2.60% in the prior quarter.
UK index of services rose as expected in January
In January, the index of services in the UK advanced 0.80% on a monthly basis, at par with market expectations. The index of services had risen by a revised 0.90% in the October-December 2014 period.
UK business barometer recorded a rise in March
In March, the Lloyds business barometer in the UK registered a rise to 53.00, compared to a reading of 45.00 in the prior month.
UK index of services unexpectedly fell in January
On a monthly basis, in the UK, the index of services unexpectedly dropped 0.20% in January, compared to an advance of 0.60% in the previous month. Markets were anticipating the index of services to advance 0.30%.
Datafeed and UK data supplied by NBTrader and Digital Look.
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