UK manufacturing comes further off the boil amid Brexit worry

London - UK manufacturing lost a bit of steam last month, with growth slipping to an eight-month low.

IHS Markit's manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index eased to 55.2 from 55.3 in January. While the figure was better than forecast and still implies expansion, Markit said it suggests a “marked downshift” in the pace of growth so far this year.

The figures come in the wake of reports showing that both consumer and business confidence remain muted, with the lack of clarity over Brexit playing a part.

In a potential further blow to sentiment, the UK and the European Union clashed again on Wednesday, raising the specter of a complete breakdown in exit talks.

That same day, the Recruitment and Employment Confederation said that companies' confidence in hiring and investment decisions has fallen to the lowest since the 2016 referendum to leave the bloc.

Markit offered some positive news on manufacturing, with employment and new orders both improving in February, and inventories declining.

Still, it said the overall figures were mixed, and they suggest production growth is running at a 0.4% quarterly pace. That's far lower than the rate signalled by the PMI for the fourth quarter, it said.

* Sign up to Fin24's top news in your inbox: SUBSCRIBE TO FIN24 NEWSLETTER

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
All Share
55339.58
(+0.99)
Top 40
50692.28
(+0.83)
Financial 15
10790.70
(+3.99)
Industrial 25
74905.70
(+1.05)
Resource 10
52561.57
(-0.49)
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes morningstar logo
Company Snapshot
Voting Booth
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Yes, and I've gotten it.
24% - 69 votes
No, I did not.
52% - 150 votes
My landlord refused
24% - 71 votes
Vote