01 January 2011
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UK manufacturing sector saw spectacular end to 2010

Figures just released by economists at financial information services company Markit show that the UK's manufacturing sector finished 2010 on a high with output, export orders and employment all rising rapidly.

The company's survey showed that the purchasing managers' index for the sector hit a new 16-year high in December reaching 58.3, up from 57.5 in November; a figure above 50 means that companies are reporting rising output.

The figures suggest that the manufacturing sector grew at a strong pace in the fourth quarter of the year and shrugged off the heavy snow that hit parts of the country during December. Markit economist Rob Dobson said: "The UK manufacturing sector saw a truly spectacular end to 2010."
Growth in the sector appears to have recovered after a slowdown over the summer and early autumn and bodes well for hopes that the private sector will be expanding strongly enough to offset public sector austerity.

Output growth was at the highest since May, while export orders are increasing at close to a record pace. Jobs growth was a little slower than the record seen in November, but still well above the long-term average. Employment has been rising for the last nine months.

One dark cloud over the figures, however, was the pace of price rises. Input prices are now rising at their highest since the PMI started in 1992, and although the prices manufacturers charge their customers are not rising quite as rapidly, inflation is not far off a series high. Markit said that companies were reporting higher prices for cotton, food products and energy.

Now the holiday season is past and manufacturing is back at full swing, the fastenings sector can look forward to an optimistic and prosperous 2011. FAST wishes our readers a Happy New Year!

Paul Gay


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