UK Manufacturing Activity Slips Into Contraction

RTTNews | 53 days ago
UK Manufacturing Activity Slips Into Contraction

(RTTNews) - The UK manufacturing activity slid into contraction at the start of the second quarter as improvement in output and new orders were short-lived amid uncertain market conditions, client destocking and supply chain disruptions.

The S&P Global final manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index fell to 49.1 in April from a 20-month high of 50.3 in March, survey results showed on Wednesday. The score was above the flash estimate of 48.7.

Four out of the five components of the PMI contracted in April. Only supplier delivery times bucked the negative trend.

Production continued to decrease in April largely reflecting decreases in intermediate and investment goods industries. Due to weaker demand from both domestic and overseas markets, new business contracted in April. The downturn in new export business extended to 27 successive months.

Average purchasing costs rose for the fourth straight month in April, with the rate of increase rising to its highest since February 2023.

Input prices increased due to higher costs for energy, polymers, steel, textiles, timber and transportation. In response, manufacturers increased their selling prices, taking output charge inflation to an 11-month high.

Staffing levels were reduced for the nineteenth straight month. Job losses were mainly in the consumer and intermediate goods sub-industries.

Input buying volumes dropped further and stocks of both purchases and finished goods were further depleted.

Average vendor lead times lengthened for the fourth consecutive month amid continued reports of disruption caused by the Red Sea crisis.

The outlook for the manufacturing sector remained positive in April as manufacturers were optimistic about a revival in demand, new product launches, efficiency gains and an improvement in market conditions.

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