By Emily Hardy For This Is Money
Published: 12:21 BST, 1 April 2019 | Updated: 21:42 BST, 1 April 2019
UK manufacturing defied the doomsayers last month, with the sector smashing forecasts and reaching a 13-month high.
A reading of 55.1 for March marked a huge jump on the 52.1 figure recorded in February, and flew in the face of economists' expectations of 51.2.
However, those behind the survey put the jump in manufacturing activity down to Brexit stockpiling, as firms acted to avoid being caught short ahead of March 29 - Britain's original EU departure date.
Many car manufacturers are understood to have stockpiled cars in the UK last month due to uncertainty ahead of the original Brexit date
'Manufacturers reported a surge of business activity in March as companies stepped up their preparations for potential Brexit-related disruptions,' said Rob Dobson, a director at IHS Markit.
He added that output, employment and new orders all rose at higher rates, according to the manufacturing purchasing managers' index (PMI), as manufacturers and their clients 'raced to build safety stocks'.