Category: UK Manufacturing Growth

UK Manufacturing Growth

Shock drop in UK manufacturing growth – are the finest days of UK recovery over?

A weaker outlook for the manufacturing sector has led some analysts to suggest that the best days of the UK recovery have now passed

Poor manufacturing data could signal the end of a hot streak for UK growth. Surveys of the nation’s manufacturing sector saw an unexpected fall this August, as purchasing managers’ index (PMI) figures dropped from 54.8 to 52.5. While still above 50 – suggesting that the sector continues to expand – the data pointed to a fall in the pace of growth.

“While the worst days of the recession are definitely behind us”, said Jeremy Cook, of currency firm World First, “PMI surveys also suggests that the finest days of the recovery are too.”

The survey pointed to a “broad slowdown” that is underway in the UK’s manufacturing sector, according to Markit, who compiled the report.

Manufacturers “were walking rather than running in August as the sector’s performance fell to a 14-month low”, said David Noble, of the Chartered Institute of Purchasing & Supply.

Rob Dobson, senior economist at Markit, said: “It is also becoming increasingly evident that UK industry is not immune to the impacts of rising geopolitical and global market uncertainty, especially when they affect economic growth and business confidence in our largest trading partner the eurozone.”

He expects manufacturing will “provide a lesser contribution to the UK economic growth story in the third quarter than at the start of the year”.

Sterling gave back gains against the dollar and euro on Monday after the data, falling to $1.6627 from $1.6645 beforehand the release.

Downward revisions to July’s data also painted a weaker picture of the sector’s strength.

July’s headline PMI reading was revised down from 55.4 to 54.8.

Paul Hollingsworth, UK economist at Capital Economics, highlighted subcomponents of August’s survey which suggested that “the meagre 0.2pc rise in the official measure of manufacturing output may be repeated in the third quarter”.

Yet even if the manufacturing sector has lost some steam, “growth should remain robust over 2014 as a whole”, said Mr Hollingsworth.


UK Manufacturing Growth Slows in July

The pace of UK manufacturing growth slows in July

The impressive recovery by Britain’s manufacturers slowed last month as new figures pointed to the sector’s weakest performance in a year. However, it is continuing to enjoy one of its strongest growth periods for 22 years, a survey has suggested.

Manufacturing production rose during the month to meet strong demand, according to research firm Markit. However, the pace of growth slipped to its lowest in just over a year, the firm said.

Data from the closely watched The Markit/CIPS UK Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) survey for July gave a weaker-than-expected reading of 55.4, down from 57.2 a month earlier – but still well above the 50 threshold, indicating growth. Economists said they were not overly worried by the figure, which comes on the back of one of the sector’s best quarters in two decades. However, it does raise fears that businesses are starting to feel the impact of sterling’s strength, as well as jitters over looming interest rate rises and a drag on some European export markets due to the crisis in Ukraine.

Businesses may be concerned that the crisis in the Ukraine could escalate further, weakening demands for exports to key European markets, senior Markit economist Rob Dobson said.

“If the situation with Russia deteriorates further, we should expect goods exports to come under further pressure,” Mr Dobson said.

The Markit figures support Bank of England expectations that growth would slow down slightly from the rate seen in the first half of the year, he added.

Lee Hopley, chief economist for manufacturing industry body EEF, said that firms should not be alarmed by the survey findings.

“The survey continues to point to growth in activity across the sector, and at a faster pace than the long-term average,” Ms Hopley said in a blog post.