02 January 2008 | Paul Snell
Manufacturing activity continued to grow in December, but at a slower rate than the previous month.
According to the latest CIPS/NTC Purchasing Managers' Index, where a figure above 50 demonstrates growth, activity in the sector reached 52.9 in December. This compares with 54.3 in November.
The slowdown was attributed to a decline in the number of new orders received. The figure for new orders was 51.7 in December, significantly slower than the 55 recorded in November. Export orders, however, continued to grow, thanks to business from mainland Europe, but again at a slower rate than before. Export orders recorded a figure of 52.4 last month, compared with 55.3 in the month before.
Staff levels increased slightly, from 51.5 to 51.7 in December, with the number of jobs in production, sales and marketing rising to meet increased levels of production.
Input prices also remained high, reaching 62.7. Buyers reported higher costs of food, fuel, metals, paper, plastics and oil. They also reported an increase in the cost of goods and materials sourced from China.
* Further coverage of PMI reports is available at www.supplymanagement.com/pmi