Data from the Caixin/Markit PMI survey showed that April's new export sales declined for the first time since November 2016, due to weaker demand in worldwide markets that had partly weighed on overall growth.
So activity levels improved at a faster pace in April than March, albeit only marginally. Optimism reflected expectations that new business and demand conditions will improve over the coming 12 months, according to panellists. Growth of new export orders slowed in nearly all of the nations covered, the only exceptions being slight improvements in Germany and France.
Mirroring the trend for business activity, latest data revealed a renewed rise in new order volumes across the construction sector.
Strong demand drove this growth.
While manufacturing conditions appear to have improved globally, Kenanga Investment Bank Bhd expects a dreary outlook for the domestic manufacturing sector as exports appear to remain weak over the first quarter (Q1) 2018. Moreover, the rate of expansion moderated to the weakest since November 2017. Only two countries - France and Austria - saw faster job creation than in March.
The electronics sector racked up its 21st consecutive month of expansion, with last month's PMI at 52.2, down from 52.4 in March. These constraints also impacted on the performance of suppliers, with average vendor lead times again lengthening to one of the greatest extents in the survey history.
There was nothing in Tuesday's PMI report to suggest British factories - which account for around a tenth of overall economic output - will regain the vigour they enjoyed in late 2017, when a recovery in the euro zone boosted British manufacturing.
Input cost inflation remained at the 20-month low recorded in March. All of the nations covered registered an increase in charges, with the steepest seen in Germany and the weakest in Greece. IHS Markit said weakness centred especially around producers of consumer goods who have been hit by the reduced spending power among households caused by last year's rise in inflation.
It is expected that India will claim top spot as the world's fastest-growing major economy this year, but rising trade tensions between the United States and China may restrain growth. Since then, supply constraints - including raw material scarcities, supplier delivery delays and skill shortages - have constrained production.