Manufacturing growth posted a surprise slowdown to its weakest pace for seven months in April.
The sector posted a reading of 51.9 on the closely-watched CIPS/Markit purchasing managers’ index (PMI) survey – where 50 separates growth from contraction. It was down from 54 in March.
Sterling fell by a cent against the dollar and the euro.
The survey comes days after official figures showed that wider UK gross domestic product (GDP) growth had slowed to 0.3 per cent, its weakest pace in more than two years, in the first quarter.