August UK PMI Manufacturing Index Strengthens To 4-Month High Of 56.9

Growth in China's services sector slowed in August, hitting the lowest level since May 2016, an official survey showed on Thursday.

Markit's purchasing managers' index (PMI) for the sector rose to 56.9, up from 55.1 in July, and against expectations of a fall to 55. A reading above 50 indicates economic expansion, while one below 50 points toward contraction.

Chinese manufacturing activity picked up pace in August, according to an official survey indicating a crucial component of the world's second-biggest economy is holding firm. As a result, companies expanded their production schedules and buying activity, while business confidence rose to its highest for five months.

The rebound suggests that India's economic growth rate, which unexpectedly slipped to three-year low of 5.7 percent in the April-June quarter from a year ago, may also improve in the current quarter.

Sterling - which is around 13% lower than its pre-referendum level against the dollar - has been a key driver of the resurgence in the United Kingdom manufacturing sector since last June, and that remained the case in August, IHS Markit said.

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Robust export orders were driven by continued healthy demand from customers in Europe, the United States, China and Australia which, when combined with a brighter domestic backdrop, helped drive employment gains in the industry to a three year peak.

However, stricter environmental policies were a key factor leading to longer delivery times, whilst inflationary pressures intensified as input costs and output charges both rose at faster rates.

But he added: "Investment growth has cooled recently and we anticipate a further slowdown as the impact of tighter monetary conditions continues to feed through".

While remaining elevated, United Kingdom inflation unexpectedly eased from 2.9% to 2.6% in July. AugustĀ“s 56.9 is the second highest manufacturing PMI reported for the United Kingdom in over three years.

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