01 February 2008 | Paul Snell
The amount of new orders in the manufacturing sector fell for the first time in two-and-a-half years last month.
According to the latest CIPS/NTC Purchasing Managers' Index for manufacturing, the number of new orders in January fell to 49.7, below the critical no-change mark of 50 for the first time since July 2005.
Total activity in the sector fell to its lowest level since August 2005, but remained just above the no-change mark, recording a figure of 50.6.
Worsening economic conditions in markets such as the US were blamed for a fall in the number of new export orders, to 47.6 in January. Staff levels also fell below 50 last month to 48.3, blamed on rising cost pressures and market decline.
Input costs reached a three-year high of 69.3. The rising price of oil led to higher chemical, energy, plastic and transport costs for buyers.
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