UK Manufacturing PMI surges to record high in May
Conditions in the manufacturing sector improved at an unprecedented rate in May, as output growth strengthened and new orders rose at the quickest pace in the near three-decade survey history. Looser pandemic restrictions and high levels of pent-up demand meant that the rapid revival in labour market conditions continued, with staffing levels also rising at a record pace.
The seasonally adjusted IHS Markit/CIPS Purchasing Managers’ Index® (PMI®) rose to 65.6 in May, up from 60.9 in April, above July 1994’s previous record high of 61.0. The PMI has signalled improvement in each of the past 12 months.
Manufacturing production rose at one of the quickest rates in the series history, bettered only by those registered in August 2013 and July 1994. Underpinning the latest increase were record gains in new business, as domestic and overseas demand continued to revive. Companies linked new order growth to rising business confidence, the further re-opening of the UK economy and reduced issues relating to COVID-19.
New export orders also rose at a survey-record pace in May, amid reports of stronger demand from the EU, the US and China. That said, there were continued signs that while large companies were seeing record gains in new export work, the rate of increase at small firms was comparatively mild.
The corollary of the strong upswing in the performance of the manufacturing sector was pressure building on capacity, with backlogs of work rising to the greatest extent in the survey history. This was a major factor encouraging firms UK Manufacturing PMI at 65.6 in May Production growth strengthens as new work intakes rise at record rate Output prices and input costs rise at unprecedented rates Data were collected 12-25 May 2021. to reinvigorate their recruitment plans, leading to a record increase in staffing levels at manufacturers.
Pressure also built on suppliers, with the average time taken to deliver inputs to manufacturers lengthening to one of the greatest extents in the survey history. This was linked to input shortages (especially electronics, plastics and metals), transport delays and higher demand for raw materials.
Shortages of raw materials and supply-chain disruption fed through to input costs during May, leading to the sharpest rise in purchasing costs since the survey began in January 1992. This led manufacturers to increase selling prices, with the rate of inflation hitting a survey record.
Read the full article by IHS Markit / CIPS UK Manufacturing PMI® – here