Global manufacturing hits five-year low

Global manufacturing activity slowed to its weakest pace in nearly five years in March as growth in factory orders ground to a halt while cost pressures soared.

The JP Morgan Global Manufacturing PMI survey for March eased to 50.8 in March from 51.1 in February, the lowest since May 2003, as the pace of factory growth slowed across the US, eurozone and Japan.

This is still above the 50.0 mark that divides growth from contraction.

The slower pace of growth comes after the US ISM Manufacturing Index hit 48.6 in March, above expectations for a decline to 47.5, but the third time in four months the index has been in negative territory.

New orders received by manufacturers slipped to 50.0 in March from 51.4 the previous month, with the rate of growth falling at its fastest in six and half years in the US.

"Global manufacturers faced the dual headwinds of muted demand and accelerated cost inflationary pressure in March," said David Hensley at JP Morgan.

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