LONDON, April 1 (Reuters) - Global manufacturing activity accelerated in March at a pace not seen since May 2004, driven by production increase in the United States and China and signs of renewed strength in Europe, a survey showed on Thursday.
The global index, produced by JP Morgan with research and supply management organisations, rose to 56.7 in March from 55.4 in February, its ninth consecutive month above the 50.0 mark that divides growth from contraction. Output picked up to 58.8 from 57.7 the previous month.
“Growth of production and new orders regained most of the momentum lost in February, while global trade volumes rose at a survey record pace,” said David Hensley at JP Morgan.
Stocks of purchases increased for the first time since December 2006 as firms increased output to match renewed sales.
Manufacturing activity in Britain grew last month at its fastest pace in 15 years while across the channel the euro zone’s sector factory grew at its fastest pace in over three years.
The Institute for Supply Management said the U.S. manufacturing sector expanded at its fastest pace in more than five years and Asian countries reported rises in their national PMIs.
The index combines survey data from countries including the United States, Japan, Germany, France, Britain, China and Russia. (Reporting by Jonathan Cable; editing by Stephen Nisbet)