UK manufacturing activity hits 20-month low

| June 1, 2011 | 0 Comments

The Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply (CIPS)/Markit manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI) has today revealed UK manufacturing activity slowed in May.

The closely-watched CIPS/Markit manufacturing PMI dropped to 52.1 in May, from a reading of 54.4 in April.

The reading was much lower than the 54.1 expected by analysts and the lowest reading since September 2009.

However, the index continues to stay above the crucial 50 mark, which indicates expansion and it has been above this level for 22 consecutive months.

Meanwhile, the output index fell below the 50 mark to 49.9, while the new orders index contracted for the first time since June 2009.

The manufacturing sector, which accounts for around 13% of economic output, has been one of the bright spots in the UK economy, and today’s figures will further raise fears about the recovery.

Commenting on the data, Rob Dobson, senior economist at survey compiler Markit, said: “The UK PMI suggests that manufacturing has moved from rapid expansion to near-stagnation. Domestic market weakness was the main drag on order books and output.”

Construction activity and service sector activity figures will be published later this week.

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