Official data casts cloud over manufacturing

pharma300The official measure of UK manufacturing production fell by 0.8% in May, the second consecutive month on month fall this year. The main contributor to the surprise drop off was the pharmaceutical sector.

The latest fall adds pharmaceuticals to the machinery, rubber and plastic and metals sectors that have so far contributed to a 2.9% fall over the 12 month period since May 2012

Commenting on the new data, Lee Hopley, chief economist at the manufacturers’ organisation EEF, said the  latest figures had “cast a bit of a cloud over the positive run of industry data in recent months”.

The data pointed a continuation of difficult conditions across most sectors, she added, although “some growth in exports and signs of stabilitisation in Europe provided a slight lift for overseas sales”.

Chris Williamson, chief economist at Markit, thought the data painted “a mixed picture of the health of UK industry” although “the underlying trend remains one of expansion”. He concluded that the data was “also a reminder that the rate of growth in manufacturing remains constrained by relatively weak global demand, and that although exports are rising, the main stimulus to the economic recovery continues to come from the service sector and rising consumption”.

This material is protected by copyright Ken Hurst 2013.

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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 Government/statistics, machinery, Manufacturing management, metals, Pharma, plastics and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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