01 August 2007 | Paul Snell
Manufacturing activity in the UK reached a three-year high in July, according to the latest Purchasing Managers Index (PMI).
The CIPS NTC PMI, where a figure above 50 represents expansion, recorded 55.7 in July, up from 54.7 in June. It is the twenty-fourth successive month that the sector has grown.
New orders also reached a 13-month high, up from 55.8 in June to 58.3 in July. Export orders also rose, but at a slower rate than in June. UK exporters said that exchange rates had reduced their competitiveness in some markets.
Input prices also rose sharply last month, up from 65.7 in July to 66.9. Manufacturers were affected by higher prices for oil, metals, timber, plastics food and chemicals. Buying from China was also affected by new regulations on export tax in the country.
Employment also increased for the seventh successive month, at its fastest rate for three years. Staff levels rose from 51.1 in June to 52.3 in July.
* Further coverage of PMI reports is available at http://www.supplymanagement.com/pmi