U.K. manufacturing growth slowed more than forecast in December, retreating from a four-year high.
IHS Markit's Purchasing Managers Index for the industry slid to 56.3, below the median estimate of economists for a reading of 57.9. Still, that pace of expansion left the quarterly average at the highest since early 2014.
The survey showed that growth in output, new orders and employment slowed from November's highs, albeit to levels that still reflect solid gains.
The gauge of input costs eased to a four-month low, while rising intakes of new work tested capacity, leading to a modest increase in outstanding business and prompting companies to raise employment.
Markit's survey noted that an increase in new business last month reflected rising new export sales, with higher demand seen from clients in Europe, the U.S., China and the Middle East. Companies also retained a positive outlook last month, with close to 54 percent expecting production to rise over the coming year.