Latest data released by Markit - 1 March 2021
The preliminary release can be found here. This just reaffirms more modest output growth in the UK manufacturing sector as supply chain disruptions à la Brexit continue to temper with conditions to start the new year.
Business optimism reflected a sharp improvement though, jumping to a 77-month high with 63% of companies reporting that they expect better output in a year's time.
Markit notes that:
"The UK manufacturing sector was again hit by supply chain issues, COVID-19 restrictions, stalling exports, input shortages and rising cost pressures in February. Look past the headline PMI and the survey reveals near stagnant production, widespread shipping and port delays and confusion following the end of the Brexit transition period.
"In fact the biggest contributor to the headline PMI reading was a near-record lengthening of supplier delivery times. However, while normally a positive sign of an increasingly busy economy, the recent lengthening was far from welcome, more often than not linked to problems resulting from Brexit and COVID related. The resultant shortages for a vast array of components and raw materials, as rising demand chased restricted supply, led to a further acceleration in input cost inflation to a four-year high.
"With current constraints likely to continue for the foreseeable future, pressure on prices and output volumes may remain a feature during the coming months. That said, improved domestic demand as lockdown restrictions ease and a further rise in manufacturers' optimism are reasons to hope brighter times are on the horizon, and have already supported a modest rebound in staffing levels since the turn of the year."