LONDON (Reuters) - Global manufacturing activity expanded at its weakest pace for five months in May with a battered Europe proving the main drag on growth, a report showed on Friday.
The Global Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI), produced by JPMorgan with research and supply management organizations, fell to 50.6 in May from April's 51.0, its lowest reading since December.
But the index held above the 50 mark that divides growth from contraction for a sixth consecutive month.
"The rate of expansion in global manufacturing production slowed sharply in May, as growth of total order books remained lackluster and international trade volumes posted a marginal decline," said David Hensley at JPMorgan.
"The sector is hitting a softer patch heading into mid-year and this is being reflected in reduced cost inflationary pressures and lower commodity prices."
The euro zone's manufacturing sector contracted at its steepest pace in nearly three years in May while in Britain it shrank at its fastest pace in three years as orders nosedived, earlier data showed. <EUR/PMIM> <GB/PMIM>
China's economy betrayed signs of a broadening slowdown as its vast factory sector showed momentum eased in May. The pace of growth in manufacturing slowed modestly.
The index combines survey data from countries including the United States, Japan, Germany, France, Britain, China and Russia.
Reporting by Jonathan Cable; Editing by Catherine Evans