British manufacturing grows for 22nd consecutive month in March

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UK manufacturing production has expanded for the twenty-second month in a row.

The UK manufacturing PMI reading for the period was 55.2 – well above the 50 mark that denotes growth.

However, the end of the opening quarter did experience a slight growth slowdown in the UK manufacturing sector. Output and new orders both expanded at reduced rates in March, while new export business contracted for the second successive month.

Manufacturers indicated that ongoing supply shortages, greater caution among clients, escalating inflationary pressures and geopolitical tensions had all hampered the upturn.

Duncan Brock, Group Director at the Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply said it was a “muted end to the first quarter of 2022, with flatter levels of production and the softest growth in manufacturing for over a year.”

He added:

“After building up stocks and staff capacity in readiness for a stronger recovery, the war in Ukraine and subsequent
shortages threatens to undo the good work achieved so far.”

However, March did see employment expand for the fifteenth consecutive month. Increased hirings were seen across the consumer, intermediate and investment goods industries and at small, medium and large-sized companies.

Higher staffing reflected increased output, improved demand and efforts to address labour shortages. Purchasing activity and stocks of inputs also rose, in some cases due to risk mitigation strategies.

According to the UK Manufacturing PMI report, British manufacturers maintained a positive outlook in March, with over 55% forecasting that output would rise over the coming 12 months. However, companies have voiced concerns about rising geopolitical tensions, inflationary pressures and labour shortages.

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