Manufacturing sector production increases for fifteenth month

Peter Spence
Follow Peter
Manufacturing activity was widely expected to remain strong in May (Source: Getty)

Growth in UK factory activity remains incredibly strong in the UK, according to the latest survey data from Markit.

Their purchasing managers' index softened a touch, from 57.3 last month to 57 in May, right in line with analyst expectations. Any number above 50 implies expansion.

Rob Dobson, senior economist at Markit, said that "the revival of UK manufacturing continued in May, as the sector basked in one of its brightest growth spells of the past two decades."

April saw the survey's headline reading reverse much of its recent and gradual decline, and economists had widely expected to see the optimistic tone of last month's data maintained in May.

Investec's Victoria Clarke noted the global recovery should continue to buoy the sector, "albeit perhaps with a slight softening in Eurozone area demand for UK manufactured goods."

Analysts at Capital Economics pointed to the forward-looking new orders balance of April's report in a preview of today's data, which showed an increase from 57.4 to 59.8.

The latest total orders balance figures from the CBI's Industrial Trends Survey also showed improvement, edging up from -1 to +0 in May, while its output expectations balance stayed strong at its highest level since September.