British factories enjoyed a pick-up in activity last month but the flagging global economy took its toll on exporters and the manufacturing sector shed more jobs.
A closely watched measure of manufacturing, the Markit/CIPS Purchasing Managers’ Index, beat economists’ expectations and rose to a three-month high. The headline index hit 52.9 in January, up from 52.1 in December and well above the 50-mark that separates expansion from contraction. Economists had forecast a slowdown and a reading of 51.7, according to a Reuters poll.
“The UK manufacturing sector registered an uptick in its rate of expansion at the start of 2016, shrugging off a number of potential headwinds, ranging from global financial market volatility to localised flooding in the north of the country,” said Rob Dobson, a senior economist at the survey compilers Markit.
The survey of some 600 companies paints a more upbeat picture than official data for last year, which showed manufacturing output stagnated in the final quarter of 2015, leaving Britain’s service sector to drive overall economic growth.
via The Guardian