09 May 2002 | Robin Parker
Manufacturers' purchasing activity has risen to its highest level for almost two and a half years, giving fresh hope for a recovery in the sector.
The April purchasing managers' index (PMI) rose from 50.6 to 53.4, further above the 50 mark that indicates no change.
CIPS and NTC Research, which produce the figures, said the rise showed that customers were starting to build up inventories after destocking.
The report says that manufacturing activity in the US, which began to grow in February after 18 months of contraction, was a catalyst for growth across Europe.
The new impetus for recovery was also suggested in the Confederation of British Industry's quarterly industrial trends index.
It reported the first growth in business confidence in more than two years, as respondents expected domestic and export orders to grow over the next four months.