01 March 2007 | Paul Snell
Buyers in manufacturing remain positive about 2007 as activity in the sector posted its highest reading for more than two-and-a-half years.
The latest CIPS/RBS Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) for February, where a figure above 50 indicates growth, recorded manufacturing activity at 55.4. The index has now been above 50 for 19 successive months.
Expansion was stimulated by increased new orders and production, which both increased since January. New orders increased from 54.8 in January to 57.6 last month and output increased from 54.1 to 56.9.
Rising demand from abroad helped boost export orders to 55.7 last month, their highest rate since January 2004. Employment also increased for the second month in a row, and at a faster rate than in January.
Input prices increased, but less quickly than in January, recording 60.8 compared with 61.7. Supplier lead times also lengthened, with suppliers blaming a lack of capacity and scarcity of raw materials.