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UK manufacturing sector expands at record pace

Christian Fernsby |
The UK manufacturing sector grew at the fastest pace on record in April underpinned by production and new orders, final data from IHS Markit showed on Tuesday.

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The Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index rose to 60.9 in April from 58.9 in March and was above the flash estimate of 60.7.

Output increased for the eleventh straight month in April. The latest increase was attributed to a loosening of lockdown restrictions, improved demand and rising backlogs of work.

Total new orders rose for the third straight month, largely due to a further revival of domestic market conditions.

The degree of confidence among manufacturers was 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.

Supply-chain delays and input shortages led to another near-record lengthening of vendor lead times. Employment in the manufacturing sector rose for the fourth successive month, with the rate of job creation staying close to March's seven-year high.

On the price front, the survey showed that average selling prices rose at the fastest pace since charges data were first collected in November 1999.

Although manufacturers have passed on higher input costs to customers, it is hoped that this inflationary backdrop will subside once supply and demand come back into line as covid-related logistic delays ease, Rob Dobson, a director at IHS Markit, said.

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