Belfast Telegraph

Figures for manufacturing activity below expectations

Activity in Britain's manufacturing industry came in shy of expectations as a slowdown in new orders sent output drifting to a three-month low.

The closely watched Markit/CIPS UK Manufacturing purchasing managers' index (PMI) showed a reading of 54.3 last month, down from 56.3 in May and below economists' forecasts of 56.4.

A reading above 50 indicates growth.

The report pointed to a widespread slackening across the industry, with output and new orders climbing at "milder rates" in the consumer, intermediate and investment goods sectors.

Despite the slowdown, the average rate for the second quarter still reached a three-year high at 55.9.

Rob Dobson, senior economist at IHS Markit, said the industry pushed through the political uncertainty surrounding the Brexit vote and the General Election to deliver further growth.

He said: " The main factor driving the broad slowdown in June was a steep easing in the rate of increase in new order intakes.

"New business rose at the weakest pace for nearly a year and growth was down sharply from April's near three-year high.

"This slowdown was largely centred on the domestic market, where increased business uncertainty appears to have led to some delays in placing new contracts.

"Export orders remained disappointingly lacklustre despite the ongoing competitiveness boost of the weak sterling exchange rate."