UK manufacturing falls at fastest rate for three years
The UK's manufacturing sector shrank at its fastest rate for more than three years in July, according to a closely watched survey.
With any number below 50 indicating contraction, the Markit/CIPS manufacturing purchasing managers' index fell to 45.4 last month, from a downwardly revised 48.4 in June.
July's reading was the lowest from the index since May 2009.
The EEF trade organisation said more had to be done to boost the economy.
The survey also highlighted a big fall in export orders for manufacturers, which it said had fallen at the sharpest rate since February 2009.'Persistent weakening'
Rob Dobson, an economist at Markit, a financial information service, said: "The domestic market shows no real signs of renewed life, while hopes of exports charting the course to calmer currents were hit by our main trading partner, the eurozone, still being embroiled in its long-running political and debt crises."
Lee Hopley, EEF chief economist, said the latest date "raises question marks over whether we will see a bounce back in the near future".
She added: "There isn't much positive news to take from this survey, with demand being hammered by persistent weakening in eurozone markets and slower growth in other parts of the world.
"Government will need to return from recess with a lot more clarity around its plans to get growth back on track."
Official data released last week showed that the UK recession is deepening.
The economy contracted by 0.7% between April and June, said the Office for National Statistics.
This followed a 0.3% drop in the first three months of the year.