–CIPS/Markit Manufacturing PMI 51.2 Vs Revised 51.5 In February
–But Input Cost Pressures At Seven-Month High – Mainly Due Oil

LONDON (MNI) – UK manufacturing saw its strongest growth in 10
months, according to the latest Markit/Chartered Institute of
Purchasing and Supply survey, published by Reuters.

The seasonally adjusted Markit/CIPS UK Manufacturing Purchasing
Managers’ Index rose to a ten-month high of 52.1 in March, from
a revised reading of 51.5 in February.

Markit pointed out that the PMI has now signalled expansion for
four successive months, with its average reading in Q1 2012 (51.8) the
highest since the second quarter of last year.

Markit warned, however, that the increase in output was heavily
supported by a running down in ‘backlogs of work’ and record inventory
building. It also said that input costs rose to a 7-month high due to
high oil and metal prices.

Rob Dobson, Senior Economist at Markit and author of the
Markit/CIPS Manufacturing PMI, said:

“UK manufacturing has made a brighter-than-expected start to 2012,
with PMI data pointing to output growth of around 0.3% in the first
quarter. This is obviously nowhere near a strong pace, but it is at
least sufficient to prevent the sector from remaining a drag on broader
GDP growth…

“A major cause of concern among manufacturers is the recent upsurge
in input prices, which mainly reflects high oil prices. While there are
few signs currently of this passing through to factory gate prices, it
is creating an unwelcome pressure on margins as strong competition
restricts firms’ pricing power”.

–London newsroom: +44 207 862 7492; email: dthomas@marketnews.com