The flash reading of the Markit manufacturing purchasing managers index edged higher in February to 54.3 from 53.9 in January, to mark the highest reading since November. Details seemed on the weak side. New orders slowed to the weakest rate in just over a year and there was "near-stagnation" of exports, Markit said. The flash estimate is typically based on approximately 85%-90% of total PMI survey responses each month, and any reading above 50 indicates improving conditions. The rate of growth remains well down from last year's peaks however. "The survey therefore adds to the sense that, while still expanding at a solid pace, the U.S. economy has entered a slower growth phase," said Chris Williamson, chief economist at Markit.
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