United Kingdom manufacturing growth decelerates

Lacklustre orders, slower hiring hurt manufacturing.

Britain's manufacturing sector, which accounts for about 10 per cent of the economy, maintained its recent brisk activity levels in March, according to the latest figures.

The Markit/CIPS UK Manufacturing purchasing managers' index (PMI) showed a reading of 55.1 last month, slightly higher than the 55.0 in February.

That's down from 54.2 in February, and it missed expectations for 54.5 - although it remains above the boom-or-bust line of 50 that separates expansion from contraction.

A recent survey has revealed that manufacturing growth in the United Kingdom slowed to a 12-month low in the months from January to March this year.

There would be a limited impact of the United States tariffs on aluminium and steel on India, as the country's exports to the USA in both the metals makes up for almost 0.4% of the overall merchandise exports, stated Dodhia.

The index of new orders fell to a nine-month low.

On the employment front, firms reduced their payroll numbers for the first time in eight months.

"Manufacturers operating in consumption and intermediate market groups signalled no appetite for recruitment", Dodhia said.

Meanwhile, business sentiment remained weak, reflecting some concerns regarding business prospects over the next 12 months.

"Despite the resilient March performance, the overall impression is that the manufacturing sector had a decent first quarter but has lost some momentum compared to the strong performance seen through the second half of 2017", said Howard Archer, chief economic adviser to the EY ITEM Club consultancy.

On the prices front, the survey noted that the recent "build-up of inflationary pressures eased in March, with softer increases in both input costs and output prices recorded".

  • Jacqueline Ellis