According to the report from IHS Markit, the downturn in the UK manufacturing sector continued at the start of the third quarter. Production and new orders shrank as manufacturers faced the ongoing headwinds of political uncertainty, a global economic slowdown and the unwinding of stocks built prior to the original Brexit date.
At 48.0 in July, unchanged from June, the headline seasonally adjusted PMI stayed below the neutral 50.0 mark for the third straight month. The last time that the PMI was below its current level was almost six-and-a-half years ago (February 2013).
Manufacturing production fell to the greatest extent in seven years, as companies scaled back output in response to a further solid decrease in new order intakes. Demand was weaker from domestic and overseas markets. Manufacturers linked lower order intakes and production to ongoing uncertainties (political, global trade tensions and Brexit) and slower world economic growth. Employment decreased for the fourth month in a row, with the pace of decline accelerating to one of the highest over the past six-and-a half years.
Manufacturers maintained a positive outlook in July. Over 46% expect output to be higher in one year's time, compared to less than 10% forecasting contraction.
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