May 2, 2017 / 8:03 AM / 4 months ago

German manufacturing growth near six-year high in April: PMI

FILE PHOTO: Employees of German car manufacturer Mercedes Benz make final adjustments at the end of the Mercedes A class (A-Klasse) production line at the factory in Rastatt, Germany, January 22, 2016.Kai Pfaffenbach/File Photo

BERLIN, (Reuters) - German manufacturing activity held near a six-year high at the start of the second quarter, a survey showed on Tuesday, suggesting factories will continue to support economic growth in Europe's biggest economy.

Markit's Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) for manufacturing, which accounts for about a fifth of the economy, inched down to 58.2 in April from March's 71-month high of 58.3.

The index has now held above the 50 line separating growth from contraction for 29 months running, the second-longest run of growth in activity in the 21-year history of the survey.

The final reading was unchanged from a flash estimate published last month.

"Although growth of output, new orders and employment all eased, this was mostly offset by more evidence of supply chain pressures as input delivery times lengthened to the greatest extent in six years," IHS Markit economist Trevor Balchin said.

Input price inflation accelerated for a record ninth month running to reach the highest level in nearly six years, the survey showed. Panelists pointed to higher steel costs as a key source of inflationary pressure.

"Consequently, manufacturers increased their own prices at one of the fastest rates in six years," IHS Markit said.

Reporting by Michael Nienaber; Editing by Hugh Lawson

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