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2 June 2014 | Will Green
Growth in the UK manufacturing sector eased in May but still represented the 15th consecutive month of increased production.
The Markit/CIPS UK Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index fell back to 57, down on April’s 57.3, but remaining above the 50 mark indicating expansion and the sector is still experiencing “one of the brightest spells of output and new order growth in the 22-year survey history”.
There were marked increases of output and new orders across the consumer, intermediate and investment goods sectors, while new export orders rose for the 14th month in a row, with firms reporting improved demand from the US, Asia, Canada, Europe, the Middle East and New Zealand.
Manufacturing employment increased for the 13th month running, with growth spread across sectors and at both SMEs and large companies.
Output prices increased for the 11th consecutive month, though the rate of inflation eased to its weakest since August 2013, while input costs fell for the fourth month running, reflecting lower prices for commodities, energy and dairy products.
Rob Dobson, senior economist at Markit, said: “Manufacturing production is currently expanding at a quarterly rate close to 1.5 per cent, according to the PMI, helping the sector take huge strides towards recouping the output lost during the recession. However with manufacturing still some 7.5 per cent smaller than its pre-crisis peak , even at this current growth rate it would take until late 2015 to achieve full recovery.”
David Noble, group CEO, CIPS said: “Rising demand and a further drop in input prices is having a positive impact on the cost side, as factories have been able to ramp up their selling prices for the eleventh month running. At the same time however, the pressure to keep up the pace of production is filtering through to suppliers and is resulting in an ongoing lengthening of delivery times.”