Brexit stockpiling has begun as a no deal Brexit edges closer (Image: GETTY )
The UK’s manufacturers boosted output after Theresa May requested a Brexit extension from the EU ahead of Brexit Day on March 29. The Markit/CIPS UK manufacturing purchasing managers' index (PMI) showed a reading of 55.1 last month compared with the 52.1 recorded in February. It represents a 13-month high and beat expectations from economists, who forecast a reading of 51.2.
A figure above 50 indicates growth.
MPs rejected Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit deal for a third time on Friday, leaving Britain's withdrawal from the EU in turmoil on the very day it was supposed to leave the bloc.
British politicians now have until April 12 to come up with an alternative, after which the country could leave the EU without a deal to ease its transition - something most economists think will harm the economy.
The risk prompted British factories to ramp up stocks of parts and finished products at a record pace in March to minimise any disruption to supply lines.
Brexit stockpiling sparked a record jump in the amount of goods held by British factories (Image: GETTY )
Rob Dobson, director at IHS Markit, which compiles the survey, said: "Manufacturers reported a surge of business activity in March as companies stepped up their preparations for potential Brexit-related disruptions.
”Output, employment and new orders all rose at increased rates as manufacturers and their clients raced to build safety