Manufacturing growth rates in both the UK and the eurozone remained robust in June, but while the Continental economy's expansion accelerated, Britain's rate of advance slowed.
This slight contrast in velocity of growth between the UK and eurozone was marked also by contrasting levels of new order growth, purchasing activity and business confidence going forward.
Indeed, in Continental Europe there were few countries that didn't experience accelerating expansion in their manufacturing sectors in June, according to the region's purchasing managers.
Eurozone PMI at six-year highs
Austria, Germany and the Netherlands all enjoyed business activity levels at more than six-year highs and, as a whole, the eurozone manufacturing purchasing managers' index (PMI) hit a 74-month high.
The final eurozone PMI for the factory sectors rose to 57.4 in June, adjusted higher from the flash estimate of 57.3, and up from 57 in May.
Growth was broad, with Greece and Spain also experiencing expanding business activity – a PMI above 50 indicates growth.
Manufacturing production and new orders expanded at the fastest rates since the first half of 2011.
This was underpinned by robust intakes of new work from both domestic and export customers, reported IHS Markit, the compiler of the PMI surveys.
Chris Williamson, chief business economist at IHS Markit, said: "At current levels, the PMI is indicative of factory output growing at an annual rate of some 5%."
He added: "This in turn indicates the goods producing sector will have made a strong positive contribution to second quarter economic growth."
He also noted that optimism about the year ahead had risen to the highest for at least five years as order backlogs built up at the fastest pace in seven years, leading to record levels of hiring.
"There's no sign of the impressive performance ending any time soon," Williamson concluded.
UK expansion slows
Manufacturers in the UK reported further expansion, but at a slower pace than in previous months.
June PMI at 54.3 fell from May's 56.3 – its lowest level in three months due to slower growth in new orders across the spectrum of produced goods.
Manufacturers also noted deceleration in input costs and factory gate inflation – a pleasing sign for UK monetary authorities grappling with above target consumer price inflation.
Although the weaker pound began to lose some of its allure, business optimism remained relatively high, said Duncan Brock, director of customer relationships at the Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply.
He concluded, however: "Uncertainty remains the enemy, and the next few months will be a waiting game for manufacturers hoping for more stable conditions."
Pound and euro lower; stocks rally
Both sterling and the euro fell against the US dollar – the pound down 0.5% to $1.2962, while the euro slipped 0.4% to $1.1377.
The pound was down 0.1% against the euro at €1.1397.
Meanwhile, it was producers that led on stock markets, and London's FTSE 100 was up 0.3% at midday, while the FTSE Eurofirst 300 gained 0.8%.
"This disappointing report has dealt another blow to sentiment and is likely to add to the horrible cocktail of soft economic releases which is slowly illustrating the impact of Brexit," said Lukman Otunuga, research analyst at FXTM.