- The UK purchasing managers' index rose to a 13-month high of 55.1 in March, up from a revised reading of 52.1 in February, according to IHS Markit.

The market was expecting a lower reading of 51.2.

'The impact of Brexit preparations remained a prominent feature at manufacturers in March,' IHS Markit said.

'Efforts to build safety stocks led to survey-record increases in inventories of both purchases and finished products.'

'Trends in output and employment also strengthened as stockpiling operations at clients led to improved inflows of new work.'

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