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04.05.2021 16:47

UK manufacturing PMI hit near-record high in April

According to the report from IHS Markit/CIPS, April saw a further acceleration in the rate of expansion of the UK manufacturing sector. Growth of output and new orders were both among the best seen over the past seven years, leading to a solid increase in employment. The sector remained beset by supply-chain delays and input shortages, however, which contributed to increased purchasing costs and record selling price inflation. 

The seasonally adjusted PMI rose to 60.9 in April, up from 58.9 in March and above the earlier flash estimate of 60.7. The latest reading is the highest since July 1994's record high (61.0). Manufacturing production increased for the eleventh successive month in April. Output growth was attributed to a loosening of lockdown restrictions, improved demand and rising backlogs of work. Solid and accelerated expansions of output were seen across the consumer, intermediate and investment goods industries, with the consumer goods category the strongest performer overall.

The outlook for the UK manufacturing sector also remained positive at the start of the second quarter. Two-thirds (66%) of companies forecast that output will be higher in a year's time, compared to only 4% anticipating a contraction. The overall degree of confidence currently stands at its highest level in seven years. Optimism reflected expectations for less disruption related to COVID-19 and Brexit, economic recovery, improved client confidence and planned new product launches.


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