Tuesday 1 June 2021 9:36 am

UK manufacturing expansion hits record high in May

Manufacturing activity expanded at an unprecedented rate in May according to the closely watched IHS Markit/CIPS Purchasing Managers’ Index.

The sector saw an index reading of 65.6 in May, a record high for the month-on-month measure.

That topped April’s 60.9 and July 1994’s 61.0, the previous peak. An index reading of 50 indicates no change from the previous month.

Read more: Manufacturing optimism at highest levels in nearly 50 years

Production was up at one of the highest rates since records began. while new export orders rose at a survey-record pace.

Stronger demand came from the EU, US and China.

Rob Dobson, Director at IHS Markit, said growth has been “boosted by the unlocking of economies from Covid restrictions and ongoing vaccination programmes.”

The data does also suggest that a shortage of raw materials and some supply-chain disruption has pushed up purchasing costs again by a record high.

Inflation-watchers will be wary the increased price of goods will feed through into higher prices down the line.

Some seven in ten companies asked forecast that production would continue to rise through into next year, with only 3 per cent expecting a decline.

The news came after good news from Kraft, who announced a £100m-plus investment in the north-west this morning.

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