Markit’s May manufacturing PMI increased to a three-month high of 56.4 in May from 55.4 in April.

This was stronger than the 56.2 expected by economists.

Any reading abover 50 signals growth.

New export orders jumped to 52.2, the fastest pace since July 2013.

“Purchasing managers reported a further surge in business activity in May,” said Markit’s Chris Williamson. “With the exception of a brief spell in early-2010, output is growing at the fastest rate seen since prior to the financial crisis.

“The household sector in particular is leading the upturn, with demand for consumer goods rising at the fastest rate for four years. This is therefore very much a domestic led upturn, but it is encouraging to also see that growth of export orders picked up in May, pointing to an improved trade balance in the second quarter.”

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