UK Manufacturing Sector Returns To Growth

The UK manufacturing sector returned to growth in May as production grew the most in more than two years on improved order intakes, final survey data released by S&P Global revealed on Monday.

The manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index advanced to 51.2 in May from 49.1 in April. This was the highest reading since July 2022 but a tick below the initial estimate of 51.3.

The headline PMI registered above the threshold 50.0 mark in two out of the past three months.

Manufacturing output climbed at the quickest pace since April 2022. Output growth was supported by improved intakes of new work, stronger market conditions and efforts to complete existing contracts.

The upturn was centered on the domestic market as new export orders decreased for the twenty-eight month in a row.

In line with the recovery in current market conditions, business sentiment improved in May. Optimism among manufacturers was the strongest since February 2022.

The survey showed that employment decreased for the twentieth consecutive month, while inventories of finished goods and purchases were both depleted.

Input buying increased slightly in May, halting a 22-month sequence of reduced purchasing activity. Suppliers’ delivery times lengthened for the fifth straight month, mainly due to transportation issues such as the ongoing crisis in the Red Sea.

Input costs rose for the fifth month in a row albeit to a lesser extent than in April. Data painted a mixed picture for trends in purchasing costs. The rate of output price inflation hit its highest level in a year after strengthening in each of the past five months.

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