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The Czech Republic’s manufacturing sector expanded at the fastest pace in over three years in March amid strong growth in output and new orders, survey data from IHS Markit showed Thursday.

The purchasing managers’ index, or PMI, for the manufacturing sector climbed to 58 from 56.5 in February. The reading was in line with economists’ expectations.

A PMI reading above 50 signals growth in the sector. The latest reading showed the fastest improvement in operating conditions since February 2018, IHS Markit said.

Export growth was the strongest since April 2018.

Meanwhile, vendor performance deteriorated sharply and price pressures remained significant.

Input costs rose at a record pace mainly due to raw material supply shortages caused by the transportation delays due to coronavirus lockdown restrictions.

Consequently, several firms raised selling prices at the fastest pace since January 2008.
The survey data was collected during March 12-23.

“Firms expect output to increase over the coming year, with business confidence at its second-highest since July 2018,” IHS Markit economist Sian Jones said.

“We currently forecast that industrial production will rise 7.6 percent in 2021, but much remains uncertain amid rising COVID-19 cases in the country.”


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