Exports help PMI rise to show ‘a chink of light in the tunnel’

ExportShipQuay300Influential new data suggests that UK manufacturing is at least showing signs of stabilising after a rocky few months.  While remaining just below the neutral 50.0 mark, the Markit/CIPS Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI), a well-regarded bellwether of the sector’s health, rose to 49.8 in April, from 48.6 in March.

The data showed levels of production and new orders rising slightly after contracting in February and March. The modest recovery reflected a mild gain in new contracts with most growth coming from the consumer and investment goods sectors.

Manufacturers also benefited from a modest improvement in new export orders with sales increasing to clients in North America, the Middle East, Latin America and Australia but remaining lacklustre in the Eurozone.

Input inflation dipped with companies paying less for commodities and fuel although the cost of chemicals, food products and plastics rose and a weak pound put up the price of imports.

Manufacturing job losses were recorded for the third straight month in April, although the rate was weaker than in the previous two months.

Rob Dobson, senior economist at survey compilers Markit said the stabilisation meant the sector should be less of a drag on broader economic growth.

CIPS CEO David Noble believed that “a march of the makers may be on its way”. However, he warned: “We should not forget that the sector is not in rude health … but the latest figures are at least a chink of light in the tunnel”.

EEFchief economist Lee Hopley said the PMI improvement was “mildly encouraging” with the improvement in exports being “especially positive as the UK sorely needs an improvement in trade if we are to make faster progress on rebalancing growth”.

This material is protected by copyright Ken Hurst 2012.


About Ken Hurst

Ken Hurst began his career as a journalist in London over 30 years ago, working on a range of publications before moving on to weekly newspaper production in the newly-independent Zambia of the 1970s. He returned to the UK where his work included spells on newspapers and magazines, before moving to head up Norwich Union’s corporate affairs division. In the 1990s he moved on to freelance, co-own and publish the B2B audio magazine Sound and front the BBC radio Yesterday’s Papers programme. There followed six years as Business Editor at Britain’s biggest selling regional daily newspaper, The Eastern Daily Press, where he led an award-winning team and for whom he still writes a weekly socio/political comment column. Subsequently, he was Group Editorial Director at CBM, responsible for its UK and US magazine output – including The Manufacturer magazine – research-driven industry reports and live events content. Currently he is Contributing Editor at Works Management magazine publisher Findlay Media and Chairman of the consumer publishing house TNT Multimedia Ltd. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and of the British Association of Communicators in Business.
This entry was posted in chemical, exports, Food & beverage, Government/statistics, jobs, Manufacturing management, plastics and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s