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United Kingdom manufacturing growth decelerates

04 April 2018, 01:11 | Myrtle Vega

UK Factories Sustain Growth After Entering `Softer' Phase

Britain's factories report rise in production for March

It was marginally higher than a preliminary reading of 53.6. At the same time, the increase in the number of new orders is the lowest in the last 20 months since mid-2016, with the increase in export orders remaining stable.

"Business conditions in Turkey's manufacturing sector continued to improve in March, albeit at a slower pace compared to the previous survey period", said Gabriella Dickens, an economist at IHS Markit.

Rob Dobson, director at IHS Markit (Stuttgart: A1139A - news), said the survey showed United Kingdom manufacturing had "entered a softer growth phase so far this year". Adjusted for seasonal factors, the headline Purchasing Managers Index, a composite indicator created to provide a single- figure snapshot of operating conditions in the manufacturing economy, posted 51.0 in March, down from 51.6 in February. Results above 50 points indicate expansion with higher results indicating a stronger expansion.

With global tensions high over trade issues, politics and tariffs, manufacturing has faced challenging times in the first quarter of the year.

Meanwhile, the PMI of Singapore's electronics industry climbed from 52.1 to 52.4, marking the 20th month of consecutive expansion of Singapore's electronics industry. Panelists commonly reported that the latest rise was driven by firmer client demand. "Companies cited rising demand at home and overseas plus recent government policy announcements as helping shore up confidence in terms of their future production levels".

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March saw a further increase in input costs.

In February, factories had raised prices at their fastest pace in almost seven years.

Backlogs of work at euro area manufacturers also increased during March, taking the current sequence of expansion to nearly three years. "That said, the rate of contraction was marginal", the statement by IHS Markit read.

"Reflecting poor demand conditions, firms continued to decrease their purchasing activity and pre-production inventories". Only Greece signalled an improvement in optimism during the latest survey month. For China, which is in the midst of a tariff battle with the US, new factory orders and exports have been muted. And even while exports and imports are growing, prices are still increasing at a faster rate.

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