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Financial News: UK Manufacturing Growth At 13-month High

UK Manufacturing Growth At 13-month High

04/01/2019 - 04:47:00 (RTTNews)

(RTTNews) - UK manufacturing sector grew at the fastest pace in over a year in March, as stockpiling by businesses hit a record as they braced for Brexit disruptions, survey data from IHS Markit showed on Monday.

The CIPS purchasing managers' index, or PMI, for the manufacturing sector climbed to a 13-month high of 55.1 from 52.1 in February. Economists had forecast a score of 51.2.

The February reading was revised from the original 52. A reading above 50 suggests growth in the sector.

Record increases were witnessed in inventories of both purchases and finished products. Stockpiling led to improved inflows of output and trends in output and employment strengthened.

"The stock-building boost introduces a major headwind for demand, output and jobs growth moving forward," IHS Markit Director Rob Dobson said.

"Manufacturers are already reporting concerns that future trends could be constrained as inventory positions across the economy are unwound."

Business optimism improved slightly, but remained subdued due to Brexit concerns.

Input costs increased further in March, thanks to raw material shortages, inflationary pressures, Brexit and higher energy costs. Consequently, selling prices were raised, but the inflation rate was the weakest in 32 months.

"The survey is also picking up signs that EU companies are switching away from sourcing inputs from UK firms as Brexit approaches," Dobson said.

"It looks as if the impact of Brexit preparations, and any missed opportunities and investments during this sustained period of uncertainty, will reverberate through the manufacturing sector for some time to come."

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