Manufacturing PMI at three-month high
The UK manufacturing sector made a good start to the final quarter of 2014 with rates of expansion in production and new business accelerating from September lows.
According to the Markit/Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply Index, October’s 53.2 remained above the neutral 50.0 mark for the twentieth month in a row and strong increases in production were signalled for the consumer and intermediate goods sectors, while capital goods manufacturers also saw a solid gain in output volumes.
However, growth reflected the resilience of the domestic market, overseas demand having been impacted by economic weakness in the eurozone and the euro-sterling exchange rate. Slower growth in other key markets such as the US and China were also mentioned by some companies.
Manufacturing employment rose further during October but the increase slipped to its second-slowest since last June. Staffing numbers rose sharply at SMEs but were held steady at larger-scale producers.
Price pressures remained relatively subdued during the survey month and input costs fell for the second month running, mainly reflecting reductions in commodity and oil prices.
Meanwhile, average output charges rose at the slowest pace during the current 16-month sequence of increase. Companies mentioned lower purchase prices and competitive pressures as reasons.