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UK manufacturing suffers shock contraction

Activity in the UK's manufacturing sector unexpectedly shrank in February, according to a closely-watched survey.

The Markit/ CIPS purchasing managers' index (PMI) for manufacturing fell to 47.9 last month, from a downwardly revised 50.5 in January.

It was the first reading below 50 - which indicates contraction - since November.

Chief economist Lee Hopley, from EEF, said: "It's not taking an awful lot at the moment to turn growth into a negative number".