Analysts at JP Morgan say the latest round of purchasing managers index data shows only modest growth in the global manufacturing industry.
Over the past few weeks most major manufacturing economies have released their PMI index, a measure of growth or contraction in the industry.
The US and China posted positive data for April, but growth still declined, and Europe also saw the industry contract over the last month.
Australia joined other large manufacturers in posting a slide in activity, but Japan bucked the trend, posting its fastest growth in almost a year.
In an investment note JP Morgan said the global manufacturing PMI fell to 50.5 in April, down from 51.1 in March, and the result signalled a slight change in fortunes despite ongoing weakness.
“The rate of expansion decelerated slightly during April, meaning that growth so far in 2013 has remained, at best, only marginal,” they said.
“This is still an improvement compared to the contractions signalled throughout much of the second half of last year.”
“April saw manufacturing production increase at the slowest rate in the year-to-date, as growth of new order inflows also slipped to a near-stagnant pace. New export orders posted a marginal gain for the second month running in April.”