‘Mild im­prove­ment’ in UK man­u­fac­tur­ing sec­tor, says sur­vey

Belfast Telegraph - Business Telegraph - - Ni Job Finder - BY KALYEENA MAKORTOFF

BRI­TAIN’S man­u­fac­tur­ing sec­tor saw a “mild im­prove­ment” in Septem­ber, though com­pa­nies say Brexit un­cer­tainty has put in­dus­try fore­casts in doubt.

The Markit/cips UK Man­u­fac­tur­ing pur­chas­ing man­agers’ in­dex (PMI) showed a read­ing of 53.8 last month, lower than the 53.0 in Au­gust — which it­self was re­vised up from an orig­i­nal read­ing of 52.8.

Econ­o­mists were ex­pect­ing a read­ing of 52.5 for Septem­ber.

A fig­ure above 50 in­di­cates growth.

Man­u­fac­tur­ing PMI has now been above the neu­tral mark for 26 months.

The sur­vey in­di­cated that ex­pan­sion was logged across all the con­sumer, in­ter­me­di­ate and in­vest­ment goods sub-sec­tors, with out­put growth linked to new busi­ness, re­build­ing in­ven­to­ries and ef­forts to clear work back­logs,

It helped the PMI read­ing rise at its fastest pace in four months. The sur­vey showed new or­ders from both the do­mes­tic and for­eign mar­kets im­proved, with over­seas demand hav­ing re­cov­ered from a “solid con­trac­tion” in Au­gust.

Com­pa­nies re­ported higher sales to the likes of the US, Europe, Canada, Scan­di­navia, and Rus­sia.

Em­ploy­ment also in­creased, with jobs growth at small and medium-sized busi­nesses off­set­ting fur­ther cuts at large-scale firms.

How­ever, in­put costs rose at their quick­est pace since June, due to higher price tag across elec­tronic com­po­nents, en­ergy, food prod­ucts, me­tals, pa­per, plas­tics, resins and tim­ber.

The for­eign ex­change rate also played a part in higher costs, along­side supply short­ages and global in­fla­tion­ary pres­sures.

Rob Dob­son, di­rec­tor at IHS Markit which com­piles the sur­vey, said: “Septem­ber saw a mild im­prove­ment in the per­for­mance of the UK man­u­fac­tur­ing sec­tor.

“Do­mes­tic mar­ket demand strength­ened, while in­creased or­ders from North Amer­ica and Europe helped new ex­port busi­ness stage a mod­est re­cov­ery from Au­gust’s con­trac­tion.

“Busi­ness con­fi­dence also rose to a three-month high.” The sur­vey showed that more than 53% of com­pa­nies ex­pect pro­duc­tion to in­crease over the next 12 months.

“De­spite these causes for short­term op­ti­mism, con­di­tions in man­u­fac­tur­ing are still rel­a­tively lack­lus­tre over­all,” he said.

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