Export orders slow down

A dreadful September for Britain's manufacturers has put pressure on the Bank of England to return to the printing presses to prevent slim recovery hopes fizzling out completely.

A snapshot of manufacturing health from the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply and data provider Markit showed a worsening decline for the sector last month, as firms reported slower export orders and "subdued" domestic markets.

The poor news from the UK followed similarly worrying data from manufacturers in China, the worst quarter for eurozone firms for more than three years, and waning confidence in Japan.

In the UK, firms are cutting jobs at the fastest pace in five months, despite a slight rise in overall orders. Markit's chief economist, Chris Williamson, said that manufacturers had "lost momentum again". He added: "In this global environment, manufacturers look certain to struggle and the sector is unlikely to act as a driver of economic growth."

The Bank's monetary policy committee meets this week with most analysts expecting that it will keep quantitative easing on hold at £375bn.