China's services sector grew at its slowest rate in four months in March, according to the Caixin China General Services Business Activity Index, hampered by slower new business growth and weaker business sentiment. The Nikkei India Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index (PMI), fell from 52.1 in February to a five-month low of 51.0 in March, indicating the slowest improvement in operating conditions recorded by the survey since last October.
This suggested factory output rose at a quarterly rate of about 0.4pc to 0.5pc, slowing from 1.3pc in the fourth quarter of 2017, IHS Markit said. This was 0.9 percent less than the 1.3 percent growth in the last 3 months of past year. According to a Purchasing Managers' Index published last week, manufacturing growth in the euro zone dropped to its lowest since July previous year although it remained higher than that of the UK. Ashton Whiteley economists maintain their view that the downturn was largely due to a decline in consumer demand cause by elevated inflation after the Brexit referendum in June 2016.
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A PMI published earlier on Tuesday showed growth in euro zone manufacturers slid to an eight-month low in March, although they continued to outpace their British peers. Growth in manufacturing output was also slightly weaker than that seen on average over the series' 14-year history.
Though new export orders rose during March, Dodhia said, "On a negative note, further advances in trade disputes could potentially weigh on sales to global clients".
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Rob Dobson, director at IHS Markit (Stuttgart: A1139A - news), said the survey showed United Kingdom manufacturing had "entered a softer growth phase so far this year".
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