UK manufacturing output rises as supply chain pressures ease, data shows

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A report released today [1 March] shows that the UK manufacturing sector saw an increase in output in February 2023, the first time this figure has risen in eight months.

The data, compiled by S&P Global and the Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply (CIPS), points towards a recovery in manufacturing output as some pressures that have been affecting global supply chains begin to ease.

Rob Dobson, Director at S&P Global Market Intelligence said: “UK manufacturing showed encouraging signs of resilience in February. Output rose for the first time in eight months, boosted by weaker cost inflation and reduced supply chain disruptions.

“Manufacturers benefited from growing signs of a global economic recovery and the easing of Covid-19 restrictions by China. This process of economic revival, alongside signs of inflation peaking and reduced recession fears, should hopefully help UK manufacturers eke out further growth in the coming months.”

Dr John Glen, Chief Economist at the Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply, added: “Driven by improvements in supply chain deliveries and more stable price rises, the manufacturing sector reported a more upbeat assessment of the state of play for makers in February and output rose for the first time in eight months. A stronger global economy reflected in less caution in the UK marketplace and though new order levels were still deteriorating, the falls were less marked.”

The S&P Global / CIPS UK Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) is an indication of monthly changes to sectors in the UK. The data is compiled by S&P Global from responses to questionnaires sent to purchasing managers in a panel of around 650 manufacturers.

The PMI is calculated using a weighted average of five key measurements: New Orders (30%), Output (25%), Employment (20%), Suppliers’ Delivery Times (15%), and Stocks of Purchases (10%).

In February, the PMI rose from 47.0 the previous month to 49.3.

In response to this data, Industry X Lead for Accenture in the UK Maddie Walker said: “It’s reassuring to see signs of growth returning to UK manufacturing after the gloom which dominated the sector last year.

“News that the UK may avoid a recession has buoyed the sector and recent foreign investments are a vote of confidence in the UK’s manufacturing capabilities for the future. As economic revival continues, we will hopefully see further growth in the coming months.

“While the road to full recovery will be a long one, it will take continued investment in the right digital technologies, alongside ensuring new recruits have the right skills for modern manufacturing. It’s this that will help bolster the sector’s resilience and ensure this growth is sustained.”

This news follows the revelation that production of commercial vehicles in the UK in January 2023 was at the highest level of any start to the year since 2012.

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