UK manufacturing inches up in January

City A.M. Reporter
Britain’s manufacturing sector expanded slightly last month, raising hopes that the economy can avoid sliding into a triple-dip recession.

Factory output grew at its fastest pace since September 2011, according to official data out today.

The Markit/CIPS Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index edged down to 50.8 in January, from a downwardly-revised 51.2 in December. It came in below forecasts but above the 50 level that separates growth from contraction.

"A second consecutive month of improving business conditions in the manufacturing sector is an encouraging start to 2013," Rob Dobson, senior economist at Markit, said today.

However, Dobson highlighted that manufacturing only accounts for around 10 per cent of the economy, and that the survey will have limited impact unless "accompanied by an improvement in the services sector, which contracted at the fastest rate for two years in December".