Manufacturing growth slows to worst point in 13 months

Brexit is weighing on exports, while demand is down due to the Ukraine war

01 April 2022

Manufacturing in the UK is doing worse than at any point for the last 13 months, as exports suffered and the war in Ukraine made buyers more cautious, an influential survey has found.

After hitting a three-month high in February, the S&P Global/CIPS UK Manufacturing PMI survey scored 55.2 last month.

It still means the sector is growing, but is significantly below the 58-point score seen in March.

Anything above 50 is considered growth in a PMI survey, which asks businesses around the country how they are performing.

Manufacturers were hit on several fronts, the survey found. Output decreased, as did orders, and growth slowed in consumer and investment goods.

The number of new export orders dropped for the sixth time in second months, in part due to Brexit-linked problems.

Rob Dobson, director at S&P Global, said: “March saw a marked growth slowdown in the UK manufacturing sector, with rates of expansion for production and new orders both easing and new export business suffering back-to-back declines.

“The slowdown in consumer goods output was especially marked.”

He said that cost rises also show no sign of abating and are in fact “re-accelerating”.

Duncan Brock, group director at the Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply, said: “While new order expansion continued in March largely driven by the domestic market, clients hesitated to commit due to strong rises in prices and potentially further disruption to supplies.

“Pipelines of work from overseas also took a hit and fell for the sixth time in just over half a year as Brexit customs added to the impacts on UK supply chains.

“This triple whammy particularly impacted the consumer goods sector as reluctant shoppers worried about energy costs, national insurance rises and the elevated cost of food, ruled out shopping for household appliances, clothing and vehicles.”

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