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UK manufacturing sector ends 2019 in the doldrums

The U.K.'s manufacturing sector ended 2019 in contraction territory, with December output declining at the fastest pace since July 2012, data from IHS Markit and the Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply showed.

The seasonally adjusted manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index, or PMI, fell to 47.5 in December 2019, compared with the flash reading of 47.4. A reading below 50.0 indicates contraction.

Intermediate and investment goods sectors contracted, while the consumer goods sector recorded a marginal expansion.

"On this basis, it looks like U.K. manufacturing and the broader economy may both start the new decade as they began the last, too reliant on consumer spending and still waiting for a sustained improvement in investment levels," said Rob Dobson, director at IHS Markit.

New orders declined for the eighth consecutive month amid economic, global trade and political concerns. Businesses remained optimistic about the upcoming 12-month period, though the degree of confidence was subdued compared with historical levels, the data showed.