Factory output on ‘firm footing’ during October

Factory output fell slightly last month but remains above its long-term average. Picture: David Davies/PA Wire
Factory output fell slightly last month but remains above its long-term average. Picture: David Davies/PA Wire
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UK manufacturing output shrank slightly last month from September, but the sector “remained on a firm footing”, according to the latest Markit/Cips UK manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI).

The PMI reached 54.3 in October, down from 55.5 in the prior month, and while it fell short of economists’ expectations of 54.4, Markit noted that it came in “well above” its long-run average of 51.5.

READ MORE: ‘Worrying’ slump in confidence among Scots manufacturers

It also came as the plunging pound boosted exports from the US, EU and China, but caused one of the sharpest rises in purchasing costs for nearly 25 years.

Rob Dobson, senior economist at IHS Markit, stated that he expected the sector to return to growth in the fourth quarter, and Andy Hall, head of corporate banking for central Scotland at Barclays, said the figures “appear to offer further evidence that UK manufacturers have taken the Brexit vote in their stride and are carrying on with business as usual, at least in the short term”.

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