The UK manufacturing sector logged the fastest growth in a decade in March driven by strong inflows of business from domestic and overseas markets, survey data from IHS Markit and Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply showed Thursday.
The factory Purchasing Managers’ Index rose to a decade-high of 58.9 in March, its best outcome since February 2011. The score was also above the flash 57.9.
Manufacturing output increased for the tenth consecutive month and at the quickest pace since last November. Higher output was linked to improved new order intakes, the vaccine roll-out and preparations for the planned loosening of lockdown restrictions.
Companies reported improved demand from domestic and overseas clients. New export business rose at the quickest pace in the year-so-far.
With demand outstripping supply, input price inflation accelerated to a 50-month high. This also led to upward pressure on output charges, which rose at the quickest pace since January 2017.
Business sentiment was at its most elevated for seven years, hitting unsurpassed levels at both consumer and investment goods producers.
The sector remained beset by severe supply chain and logistic issues, however, leading to delivery delays from suppliers and disruption to production and distribution schedules.
A great end to the first quarter where some businesses recovered losses from last year but the reality of continued supply chain disruption as a result of Covid, Brexit and now the Suez delays could potentially rein back some of the gains in April, Duncan Brock, group director at the CIPS, said.