The UK manufacturing sector continued its downward in September, survey data from IHS Markit showed Tuesday.
The manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index rose unexpectedly to 48.3 in September from August's six-and-a-half year low of 47.4. Economists had forecast the reading to drop to 47.0.
The headline index has remained below the neutral 50.0 mark for five successive months, its longest sequence below that mark since mid-2009.
Although the contraction was shallower than in August, levels of output, new orders, new export business and employment nonetheless fell further as rising political, trade and economic uncertainties exacerbated concerns about Brexit.
Business optimism remained at a subdued level in September, despite improving from the series-record low.