Little change in the UK’s manufacturing sector

Posted on 12 Jul 2018 and read 402 times
Little change in the UK’s manufacturing sector The June IHS Markit (www.ihsmarkit.com) UK Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) was broadly unchanged at 54.4, just 0.1 up on May’s 54.3.

The rate of increase in new business reached a three-month high, and there were other signs of improvement, albeit from a low base.

However, the performance remained relatively subdued when compared to the marked pace of growth seen by the PMI before the turn of the year; it was almost four points below the 51-month high reached in November last year.

Although the rate of increase in new business edged up, it remained among the weakest registered over the past year and a half.

Output growth slowed from May’s five-month high, and input cost inflation picked up, leading to increased selling prices. In fact, the average PMI reading over the second quarter of 2018 (54.2) is the weakest since the final quarter of 2016.

Commenting on the latest data, Tony Piggott — Halo Financial’s commercial development manager — said: “UK manufacturing activity continues to expand, albeit at a subdued pace compared to the final quarter of 2017.

"The on-going uncertainty caused by escalating trade tensions globally, Brexit inaction and disagreement in Europe over immigration policy leave companies cautious to invest or enter into new orders.”

Although the overall rate of expansion in manufacturing output slowed, June saw a “solid improvement” in the rate of job creation, with staffing levels rising at their fastest for three months.

Employment increased in the consumer, intermediate and investment goods sectors, although the overall rate of jobs growth remained below the rates seen through much of 2017.

Dorrien Peters, head of manufacturing at the law firm Irwin Mitchell, said: “Input price rises, trade tariff uncertainty and on-going Brexit worries are having an impact on the positive sentiment among manufacturers.

“Within this backdrop of subdued growth, it was pleasing to see a solid improvement in job creation.

“We must remember though that it was below the job growth recorded in most of 2017, which highlights the challenges that are currently being faced by the sector.”

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