Investing.com - Manufacturing activity in the U.K. expanded at the fastest rate since September 2011 last month, as new orders picked up, industry data showed on Wednesday.
In a report, market research group Markit said that its U.K. manufacturing PMI rose to a seasonally adjusted 51.4 in December from a revised reading of 49.2 in November.
Analysts had expected the manufacturing PMI to hold steady at 49.2 in December.
On the index, a reading above 50.0 indicates industry expansion, below indicates contraction.
Commenting on the report, Rob Dobson, senior economist at survey compiler Markit, said, "The domestic market remained the main spur for growth of production and new orders in December, although there are also signs that global trade flows are stabilizing as China and the U.S. strengthen and the downturn in the Eurozone eases."
Following the release of the data, the pound held on to gains against the U.S. dollar, with GBP/USD adding 0.53% to trade at 1.6330.
Meanwhile, European stock markets remained higher. The EURO STOXX 50 rallied 3%, France's CAC 40 gained 1.7%, London's FTSE 100 climbed 1.6%, while Germany's DAX advanced 2%.
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