US manufacturing growth worst in six months

Ford Escape production in Louisville US manufacturing growth slowed in April

The US manufacturing sector grew at its slowest pace in six months during April, a survey has suggested.

Research firm Markit said the domestic market was the main source of weakness, offset by a rise in export production.

Markit's purchasing managers' index (PMI) fell to 52 from 54.6, remaining above the 50 level that marks the line between growth and contraction.

Similar surveys released on Tuesday covering China and the eurozone also showed economic activity weakening.

Gloomy outlook

Markit's "flash" PMI survey - which is based on replies from about 85% of those firms surveyed - found that US manufacturing employment increased in April, although the rate of increase was weaker than of late.

Demand from US buyers rose at its slowest pace in six months, with the new order component of the index falling to 51.8 from 55.4 last month.

Chris Williamson, chief economist at Markit, said the findings suggested output growth was slowing sharply in the second quarter.

"While this week's first quarter GDP numbers may... bring some brighter news on the economy, the picture looks to have already begun to darken again, with GDP growth set to weaken in the second quarter."

Figures due out on Friday are expected to show the US economy grew at an annualised pace of 3% in the first three months of the year.

Germany weakens

Earlier on Tuesday, a preliminary manufacturing PMI survey for China showed growth in the sector slowed in April, adding to concerns about the country's economic recovery.

A drop in new export orders was blamed for the decline, a sign of weak global demand.

Meanwhile in the eurozone, activity in the services and manufacturing sectors continued to decline in April, with German output falling for the first time since November last year.

Markit's PMI for the eurozone remained at 46.5 in April, unchanged from the month before.

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