UK factory orders hit four-year high

4 December, 2017 12:00 AM printer

LONDON: Britain’s factories are enjoying the best business conditions for more than four years as strong demand at home and abroad boosts order books, production and jobs.

Comfortably beating expectations in the City, the monthly health check of industry from the research firm IHS Markit and the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply was the most upbeat for the sector since the summer of 2013, reports The Guardian.

The purchasing managers index – seen as a guide to the performance of manufacturing in the months ahead – rose from 56.6 in October to 58.2 in November, with all parts of manufacturing in upbeat mood. IHS said it was the 10th best showing in the survey’s 26-year history.

Rob Dobson, director at IHS Markit, said: “UK manufacturing shifted up a gear in November, with growth of output, new orders and employment all gathering pace. On its current course, manufacturing production is rising at a quarterly rate approaching 2%, providing a real boost to the pace of broader economic expansion.

Despite concerns that uncertainty about the UK’s departure from the European Union was holding back capital spending, the Markit/CIPS report said UK producers of investment goods had seen the sharpest increase in orders since 1994.

Dobson said: “The breadth of the rebound is also positive, with growth strengthening across the consumer, intermediate and investment goods industries. Of real note was a surge in demand for UK investment goods, such as plant and machinery, with new orders for these products rising to the greatest extent in over two decades. This suggests that capital spending, especially in the domestic market, is showing signs of renewed vigour."

The release of the UK PMI followed an even stronger report from the eurozone, where manufacturing has posted its second best performance since the single currency was founded in the 1990s.