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Financial News: UK Manufacturing Sector Shrinks On Weak Output, Orders

UK Manufacturing Sector Shrinks On Weak Output, Orders

01/02/2020 - 07:26:00 (RTTNews)

(RTTNews) - The downturn in the UK manufacturing sector deepened in December as production decreased the most since July 2012 in response to falling orders from both domestic and foreign markets.

The IHS Markit/Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply factory Purchasing Managers' Index fell to 47.5 in December, the second-weakest level for almost seven-and-a-half years, final data showed Thursday.

Economists had forecast the index to fall to 47.4 in December, as initially estimated, from 48.9 in November. The PMI remained below the neutral mark of 50.0 in each of the past eight months. According to the IHS Markit survey, output contracted at the fastest pace since July 2012 due to the weakness in intermediate and investment goods production.

New orders logged one of the steepest fall over the past seven-and-a-half years as inflows weakened from both domestic and overseas clients.

Business sentiment remained positive in December but the degree of optimism remained subdued by the historical standards.

Manufacturing employment decreased for the ninth straight month in December. Lower headcounts reflected weaker demand, productivity gains, cost reduction initiatives, ongoing uncertainties and recruitment freezes.

On the price front, input prices rose slightly for the first time in three months. Manufacturers responded by raising output charges to the greatest extent for six months.

"In the closing stages of the year the sector has ended on a dreary note," Duncan Brock, group director at CIPS said.

"Though the result of the General Election will bring some clarity to businesses, it still feels like a long road ahead for manufacturing to recover its losses from this year and there will still be some obstacles to overcome in 2020," Brock added.

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