Manufacturing ended year on 30-month growth high

5 January 2017

The UK manufacturing sector ended 2016 on a high, with rates of growth for production and new orders among the best seen in the last two and a half years,  according to the latest Markit/CIPS UK Manufacturing PMI report.

A “fizz in new orders” signalled good news for the UK manufacturing sector after the uncertainties following the vote to leave the EU, said David Noble, group CEO, CIPS.

The manufacturing PMI rose to 56.1 in December, up from 53.6 in November, and marking the fifth month of continuous growth. The PMI is an index based on a poll of buyers where a score above 50 signals growth, and a score below 50 signifies contraction.

Firms benefited from a stronger influx of new work from both the UK and overseas, with a weaker pound helping boost competitiveness abroad. Companies reported an increase in new work from the US, Europe, China, the Middle East and Asia.

Employment in the sector also rose for the fifth consecutive month, with SMEs experiencing the fastest expansion in staffing levels.

Rising input costs were still being felt, however this had not deterred manufacturers from increasing input orders. The rate of stock building reaching its fastest for six years, in part as firms sought to avoid price rises anticipated in the future.

“The sector looks set to reach a more robust growth path at the start of 2017,” said Noble. 

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