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

ZAR/USD
16.58
(+0.82)
ZAR/GBP
21.38
(+1.01)
ZAR/EUR
19.49
(+0.59)
ZAR/AUD
11.92
(+0.51)
ZAR/JPY
0.16
(+0.87)
Gold
1904.95
(+0.92)
Silver
23.74
(+1.72)
Platinum
897.00
(+0.75)
Brent Crude
42.12
(+1.78)
Palladium
2310.00
(+0.76)
All Share
54446.78
(+0.34)
Top 40
50159.14
(+0.23)
Financial 15
10158.72
(+0.86)
Industrial 25
73766.43
(+0.79)
Resource 10
53032.08
(-0.66)
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes morningstar logo
Company Snapshot
Voting Booth
Do you think it was a good idea for the government to approach the IMF for a $4.3 billion loan to fight Covid-19?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Yes. We need the money.
11% - 1404 votes
It depends on how the funds are used.
73% - 9100 votes
No. We should have gotten the loan elsewhere.
16% - 2002 votes
Vote