1 June 2011 | Lindsay Clark
The UK manufacturing sector grew at its slowest rate since September
2009 in May.
The Markit/CIPS UK Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) for manufacturing recorded
a figure of 52.1, a fall from a downwardly revised figure of 54.4 in April.
While the figure remained above the 50 mark that indicates expansion for
the 22nd successive month, it was the lowest figure since September 2009.
Rob Dobson, senior economist at Markit and author of the PMI report, said domestic market
weakness was the main drag on order books and output. “However, this was
exacerbated by the additional bank holidays in late April, which fell during
the early part of the latest survey period, and ongoing supply chain disruption
following the Japanese earthquake. Consumer goods producers and small-scale
manufacturers have been hit hardest by the slowdown.”
David Noble, CIPS CEO, said the picture might not be as disheartening in the
coming months. “With the level of export orders still rising and the rate of
inflation easing somewhat, we expect that May will come to be seen as an
anomaly. However, the underlying trend is likely to remain one of slower growth
compared with the start of the year."
Meanwhile, buyers in manufacturing firms saw input price inflation
continue to ease. It fell from 75.7 in April to
71.3 in May, with both figures seasonally adjusted.