One currency strategist had said that the predictions for the manufacturing sector survey was especially hard given the poor weather conditions in the area during that survey's timeframe.
Manufacturing, which accounts for about 10 percent of Britain's economy, was a relative bright spot for Britain's economy late past year, when growth for the economy as a whole was the weakest among the Group of Seven rich nations.
"Overall, the manufacturing PMI reading in March showed that demand was not as strong as expected, leading to lower willingness of manufacturers to produce and restock".
A PMI reading above 50 indicates that the manufacturing economy is generally expanding, while a reading below 50 indicates that it is generally declining.
"The key question is whether growth can now be sustained, albeit at a lower level, into the coming months", Dobson said. The Production Index registered 61%, a 1 percentage point decrease compared to the month before. Manufacturers scaled up their purchasing activity in March, though at a slower pace than in February.
After remaining positive for the eight consecutive months, manufacturing sector activity in India declined in March to a low of five months, as the fresh business orders grew at a slower pace, and companies showed reluctance for recruitment, according to a private survey. The score was forecast to fall to 54.7.
Like the ISM gauge, the one from IHS Markit indicates manufacturing is expanding when it is above a level of 50, although it's not expressed as a percentage. In line with that, input costs experienced their strongest acceleration in 10 months as manufacturers indicated higher prices for energy, fuel, gas and raw materials.
New order growth reached a four-month high in the month as new export orders recovered from a contraction seen in February. Panelists commonly reported that the latest rise was driven by firmer client demand. "Companies cited rising demand at home and overseas plus recent government policy announcements as helping shore up confidence in terms of their future production levels". Output price inflation also eased amidst competitive pressures.
Amid reports of spare operating capacity, firms reduced their payroll numbers for the first time in eight months, albeit at a fractional pace.
Analysts at Econoday noted that despite the overall soft month-over-month performance, there is strength in the homebuilding sector, and building for transportation projects and commercial projects have also improved lately. Export orders remained strong, supported by a weaker US currency. There was some pressure on supply chains as average lead times continued to lengthen during March (the third month in a row). The peso's depreciation against the USA dollar didn't help matters either.