Markit Economics released its manufacturing purchasing managers' index (PMI) for the U.K. on Friday. The Markit/Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply manufacturing PMI for the U.K. increased to 51.0 in March from 50.8 in February, missing expectations for a rise to 51.2.
A reading above 50 indicates expansion.
The increase was driven by a rise in new business.
"The UK manufacturing sector remained in the doldrums during the opening quarter of the year. Although March saw modest improvements in the trends for production and new orders, industry is still hovering close to the stagnation mark and will struggle to make a meaningful contribution to the next set of GDP growth figures," Markit's Senior Economist Rob Dobson said.