04 January 2005 | Gareth Mytton
UK manufacturers increased their purchasing activity in December in response to rising new business at home and abroad, according to the latest purchasing managers' index (PMI).
The overall PMI - a composite indicator of sector conditions from CIPS and NTC Research in which 50 indicates no change on the previous month - fell slightly to 53.7, from 55 in November, owing to lengthening supplier delivery times and falling stocks of purchases.
The quantity of purchases index rose to 53.2, as manufacturers enjoyed more growth in new orders, both overall and from abroad. The Far East and Europe were the main export destinations.
Although the input price index fell slightly, to 71.5, inflation remained substantial. Rising input prices were generally linked to high oil prices and global raw materials shortages, particularly steel.
Manufacturing activity in the euro-zone accelerated for the first time in five months, according to the NTC Research manufacturing PMI.
The index, at 51.4, reflected a rise in input from November's 15-month low. Inputs of purchases rose slightly, leaving stocks largely unchanged.
Activity also rose in the US, where the Institute for Supply Management's (ISM) PMI rose to 58.6 in December, from 57.8 in November.
• Coverage of previous months' manufacturing, construction and services PMI reports is available at http://www.supplymanagement.com/pmi
• More information on the UK and euro-zone PMIs is available at www.ntc-research.com
• The full text of the ISM reports on the US manufacturing economy for December 2004 and previous months is available at http://www.ism.ws/ISMReport/index.cfm.