UK manufacturing activity slowed to a five month low according to Markit/CIPS Purchasing Managers’ Index® (PMI®) however it remains above the long run average of 53.1.
The reading of 57.1 is a further dip from Januarys record high of 61.2, due to an unwelcome combination of a rising costs and fewer new orders.
David Noble, CEO of CIPS said:
“The mini-boom in UK manufacturing ran out of steam during March as faltering domestic consumer confidence, inflationary pressure and supply chain disruption combined to slow down expansion. Set against a strong order book across the whole of Q1, it’s concerning to see inflows of new orders, particularly for consumer goods within the domestic market, easing sharply at the end of the quarter.
“Inflation is still ‘enemy number one’ and the problem of phantom demand, whereby purchasers buy greater quantities of scarce raw materials to mitigate against further price rises, is continuing unchecked. Selling prices have now hit record highs as businesses are forced to pass on these costs directly to customers.
“The next few months will be a waiting-game for UK manufacturers. For now, job creation in the sector remains solid but businesses will be monitoring the situation closely. A continued slowdown could start to have an impact on recruitment. Hopes that the UK economy might start to rebalance towards manufacturing seem to be withering on the vine.”
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