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01.05.2019 16:45

UK manufacturing upturn slows in April

According to the report from IHS Markit, April saw the recent growth fillip at UK manufacturers show signs of petering out, as rates of expansion in output and new orders slowed and new export business decreased at the second-fastest pace in four-and-a-half years. Brexit stock-building continued, albeit to a lesser extent than in the prior survey month.

The headline seasonally adjusted PMI fell to 53.1 in April, down from March's 13-month high of 55.1. Alongside weaker growth in production, new orders and stocks of purchases, the lower PMI level also reflected job losses in the sector.

The main theme in UK manufacturing in recent months has been accelerated stockpiling in preparation for Brexit, culminating with the survey-record increases in both inventories of inputs and finished products in March. This process largely continued into April, with further substantial expansions to holdings signalled. Output growth slowed from March's ten-month high in April. The upturn in new work received also weakened, as domestic market conditions remained subdued and new export business contracted. Manufacturing employment declined for the third time in the past four months during April. Business optimism improved to a seven-month high in April, with over 50% of companies forecasting that output would increase over the coming year.


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