UK manufacturing industry slows after best quarter in three and a half years

By Sophie Chapman
The manufacturing sector in the UK hit its highest quarter in three and a half years in November 2017, which was followed by a dip in December. Accordi...

The manufacturing sector in the UK hit its highest quarter in three and a half years in November 2017, which was followed by a dip in December.

According to the Markit/CIPS’ Purchasing Manager Index, the industry reached a 51-month high in November of 58.2, and then fell to 56.3 in December.

However, although the sector’s reading fell in the last month of 2017 – and was lower than the anticipated 58.0 – by staying above 50.0 it is clear the industry is still expanding.

“Although growth of output and new orders moderated during December, rates of expansion remained comfortably above long-term trend rates,” reported Rob Dobson of IHS Markit, the firm that composes the survey.

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The average reading for manufacturing PMI in the UK for the final quarter of 2017 was 57.0, claims the Financial Times, which is the highest quarterly figure recorded since 2014.

“The manufacturing sector continues to be a clear bright spot, but it’s worth remembering that it makes up a relatively small share of the overall economy,” said James Smith, ING Bank.

“Elsewhere, there are few obvious catalysts for a pick-up in consumer spending, particularly with real wages set to be more or less flat this year.”

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