"The goods-producing economy carries strong momentum into 2018, with new order growth at its highest for nearly eight years and rising backlogs of work pointing to the need for further expansion in capacity", Smith added. This was consistent with the strongest improvement in the health of the sector since December 2012. The level of new contracts received from overseas - mainly from Asia, the United States and Europe - rose at the fastest rate in the history of the survey.
"Manufacturers will be looking to the new year for the progress on the National Energy Guarantee and other measures to put downward pressure on business costs", Mr Willox said.
"Interestingly, the wages component dipped in December, but at 60.2 it does point to the prospect of some pick-up in wages growth", Mr Oliver said.
In response to greater inflows of new orders, good producers were encouraged in December to engage in input buying at the sharpest rate since August 2015.
China's manufacturing sector continued to expand in December, pointing to economic resilience in the country's factory sector. As a effect, the sector observed a modest increase in pre-production inventories for the first-time since June.More news: NMSU Football lands in Tucson ahead of Arizona Bowl Game
"We believe a moderate growth slowdown to be more visible in the first half of 2018, especially on the investment front, due mainly to the tight financial conditions and a cooldown of the property market", BofA Merrill Lynch economists said.
Manufacturing in China grew at a slightly slower pace in December than the previous month, a Chinese government survey showed Sunday, following government controls on bank lending.
"(British manufacturing) broadly maintained its solid boost to broader economic expansion in the fourth quarter", said Rob Dobson, director at PMI compiler IHS Markit.
Another major tech producer, Taiwan, saw manufacturing activity hitting its highest since April 2011 at 56.6 last month, according to a December survey. Companies reported cross-sector increases for raw material, forcing them to raise their average selling prices in order to pass on some of the cost burden to clients. "This outlook was shared by the manufacturing community as sentiment picked up to the strongest in three months amid expected improvement in market conditions over the next 12 months", Dodhia added.