09 September 2004 | Sam Fortescue
Activity grew in the British manufacturing sector for the fourteenth successive month in August, although growth slowed on the previous month, according to the latest CIPS/Reuters purchasing managers' index.
The headline PMI, a composite indicator designed to provide an overall view of manufacturing activity, fell by three points on July's figure to 53.1.
But this remains comfortably above the critical 50 mark, which means no change on the previous month.
Manufacturing conditions continued to improve in spite of the inflationary pressure of rising oil, metal and electronics prices, which took the input prices index to 64.7. Output grew, although at 53.5, it was more than four points down on July. The new orders index fell by the same amount.
The construction sector showed sustained strong growth in August, too, with a marked jump in new business.
The PMI for construction saw total industry activity rise to 55.8, higher than in July, as new orders rocketed to 59.6.
Input prices continued their meteoric rise as strengthened demand for materials combined with some serious shortages, especially of steel products.
Delivery times worsened again, extending lead times for construction firms.