UK manufacturing sees welcome increase in activity

The UK manufacturing sector grew in December, factory activity data has shown, boosting hopes of overall economic growth for the last quarter of 2012. The Markit/CIPS Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) hit a 15-month high of 51.4 in December, up from 49.2 in November. With figures above 50 indicating growth in the sector, this was the first time since March 2012 such a figure had been recorded. The UK economy has been widely predicted to contract by 0.1% in the last quarter of 2012, although better-than-expected performances in sectors such as manufacturing now raise hopes that overall economic growth may be recorded. PMI figures for construction and services, due out at the end of the week, will give a better indication of the overall health of the UK economy. Costs for manufacturers also rose at the fastest rate since March, with prices increasing for chemicals, energy, food products and plastics.Richard Leathley, Corporate Manager at SBF, said: “Our manufacturing clients are starting to feel more positive in the New Year due to improving economic conditions.” “This newfound optimism is displayed in the results of a survey we undertook at the end of last year, which indicated that 80% of our clients plan for an increase in turnover in 2013”, he concluded.

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