The UK's manufacturing output rose slightly as the Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) touched on 52.0 in May, after hitting a seven-month low of 51.8 in April.

The PMI is measured by Markit financial information services and the Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply (CIPS)

Compared to the eurozone, the UK is experiencing a slower rise and it achieved only minor growth because activity on its domestic market offset the continuing lack of demand from abroad.

In the eurozone, France is struggling as Markit reported the country was suffering from a decline in new orders and employment. Germany's output grew at its slowest rate since January.

Howard Archer, chief economist at information-analysis company HIS, said that UK manufacturers hope to benefit from the bigger growth in the eurozone in terms of export recovery.

"We expect eurozone GDP growth to improve from 0.9% in 2014 to 1.5% in 2015 and 1.9% in 2016.However, the strength of the pound against the euro threatens to continue to dilute the upside for UK manufacturing exports to the eurozone."

Spain and the Netherlands ranked highest on the eurozone index in May as Spain hit an eight-year high of 55.8.

The eurozone overall performed slightly below expectation but reached a 10-month high.

Chief economist at Markit, Chris Williamson, said: "Spain and Italy appear to be staging strong recoveries, benefiting in particular from impressive export performances. Such export gains point to improved competitiveness which bodes well for longer-term economic prospects. Manufacturers in France and Germany need to be mindful of such competition."