Manufacturing PMI at 17 Month Low

04 May 2018

Published in: Black Country Chamber of Commerce News

The manufacturing PMI released on May 1st, shows the UK manufacturing PMI at a 17 month low. Production however, did rise for the twenty-first consecutive month. The recent upturn for the industry has slowed slightly as the second quarter begins.

The seasonally adjusted IHS Markit/CIPS Purchasing Managers' Index® (PMI® ) fell to a 17 month low of 53.9 in April, down from 54.9 in March. The PMI has signalled expansion in each of the past 21 months.

Like the results from the Black Country Chamber's Quarterly Economic Survey (QES), inflationary pressures have eased, as the pound bounced back to highest levels since the referendum on the UK's membership of the European Union.

In terms of production, firms reported that output was scaled up in response to higher intakes of new business, stronger client confidence, improved weather, new product launches and increased capacity. Output rose at consumer, intermediate and investment goods producers. In terms of the immediate future for the sector, supply-chain constraints and rising stocks of finished goods also signalled that output growth will remain subdued in the coming months.

Corin Crane, Chief Executive of the Black Country Chamber of Commerce, commented: "It is good to see that the steadying of the pound has alleviated fears over inflationary pressures that were evident throughout 2017. This was also shown through the data collected in our own QES for Q1 2018.

"In terms of production, there is also positive news for the Black Country and wider UK, showing the resilience of UK business in the face of domestic and international pressures. Although the PMI fell to a 17-month low, there is still clearly positivity on the ground for manufacturers, with employment in manufacturing increasing in April and staffing levels being raised in the intermediate and investment goods sectors."

Neil Lloyd, Sales Director at FBC Manby Bowdler LLP, added: "Whilst the latest PMI isn't as encouraging as previous months we mustn't lose sight that it's still above 50, indicating expansion. Our clients remain confident and positive about the short-term future and the increase in staffing levels and investment reflects the legal advice our clients are requesting from us."

To get involved in our Making The Future campaign, delivered in partnership with FBC Manby Bowdler LLP, please contact Daniel Turner on 01902 912334, email, or visit

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