Investing.com - Manufacturing activity in the U.K. expanded at a faster rate than expected in February, boosting optimism over the country’s economic outlook, industry data showed on Monday.
In a report, market research group Markit said that its U.K. manufacturing PMI rose to a seasonally adjusted 56.9 last month from a reading of 56.7 in January. Analysts had expected the manufacturing PMI to ease down to 56.5 in February.
On the index, a reading above 50.0 indicates industry expansion, below indicates contraction.
The pace of jobs growth reached a 33-month high in February, as the improved performance of the sector encouraged companies to take on more staff.
Commenting on the report, Rob Dobson, senior economist at survey compiler Markit, said, “The survey suggests we should expect another quarter of robust economic growth in the opening quarter of the year.”
Following the release of the data, the pound trimmed losses against the U.S. dollar, with GBP/USD dipping 0.04% to trade at 1.6739, compared to 1.6708 ahead of the data.
Meanwhile, European stock markets remained lower. The EURO STOXX 50 fell 1.35%, France’s CAC 40 dropped 1.45%, Germany''s DAX plunged 2.1%, while London’s FTSE 100 slumped 1%.