The data found that while stocks of inputs and finished goods rose sharply, the rate of job losses rose to a six-year high as optimism slid.
Commenting on the data, Group Director at the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply, Duncan Brock, stated: “The UK manufacturing sector continues to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune as the harsh realities of Brexit uncertainty, challenges in the global economy and a weak Pound affected confidence, jobs and overall activity.
“The sector’s sickness was also visible in employment levels with the steepest job losses in six years and with business optimism at its lowest levels since 2012, firms are unlikely to start hiring at any time soon.”
Yesterday saw the US dollar rise against Sterling after data showed annual US GDP surprised analysts by hitting 2.6 percent.
Commenting on the unexpected growth, Senior FX Strategist at IG Securities, Junichi Ishikawa said: “The dollar received a clean break as Treasury yields rose in earnest following the robust US GDP data.
“The strong response to the US GDP data shows that the market is currently focused on fundamentals, rather than geopolitical factors.”
Data also showed that economic output rose by 3.1 percent during Q4 2018, which likely buoyed the ‘greenback’.
US President Donald Trump and his advisors repeatedly promised growth of at least 3 percent, and commenting on this, Kevin Hassett, the chairman of Mr Trump’s Council of Economic Advisors said: “A year of 3.1 percent growth is something many people thought was impossible as recently as 2016, so it’s a major accomplishment.
“And it’s an accomplishment that has disproportionately benefitted low-wage and blue-collar workers.”
This afternoon the pairing could rise following the release of the US ISM Manufacturing PMI for February.
The forecast suggests manufacturing growth is going to slow, with the PMI slipping from 56.6 to 55.5.
Looking ahead to Monday, Sterling could start off next week on solid ground if the Markit UK Construction PMI is strong.
If February’s PMI shows that construction has increased it could lend confidence to pound investors.
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