UK Manufacturing Sector Growth Moderates In October

The UK manufacturing sector continued to expand in October but the upturn showed signs of losing impetus as the initial boost to growth from the economy reopening faded and job losses accelerated, final survey results from IHS Markit showed Monday.

The IHS Markit/Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply factory Purchasing Managers’ Index fell to 53.7 in October from 54.1 in the previous month. The flash score was 53.3. A score above 50 indicates expansion.

Manufacturing output climbed further though the growth eased to a four-month low in October. The improvement was linked to catching up of new orders. Reflecting rise in demand from China and the US, new export business strengthened.

On the other hand, employment declined for the ninth straight month due to recruitment freezes, the non-replacement of leavers, cost reduction strategies and workforce restructuring.

On the price front, the survey showed that the rate of increase in input prices accelerated to its highest since December 2018. Part of the increase was passed on to clients in the form of higher output charges.

Manufacturers maintained a positive outlook in October. Positive sentiment reflected hopes of economic recovery and a reduction in Covid-19 disruption.

Rob Dobson, a director at IHS Markit, said while most companies maintain a positive outlook, with three-fifths of manufacturers expecting output to rise over the coming year, concerns about near-term risks posed by the pandemic, changes to Covid restrictions and related stimulus measures, plus Brexit anxieties, continue to fog the future.

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