Belfast Telegraph

Growth in manufacturing output at eight-month low

By Kalyeena Makortoff

Manufacturing output slipped to its weakest pace of growth in eight months in March, following a slowdown in consumer goods production.

The closely watched Markit/CIPS UK Manufacturing purchasing managers' index (PMI) showed a reading of 54.2 in March, down from 54.5 in February, and falling short of economists' expectations of 55.0.

A reading above 50 indicates growth.

Survey data showed that the biggest slowdown came from consumer goods producers, which logged "only modest" growth, raising fears about the effect of rising inflation - sparked by the weak pound - on consumer demand.

While sterling's collapse in the wake of the Brexit vote boosted exports by making British goods more competitive internationally, experts insist there are trade-offs to consider.

Duncan Brock, director of customer relationships at the Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply, said: "Despite the confident mood, the depreciation in sterling that has supported exporters has come at a price.

"The reduced buying power of the pound has led to the 11th consecutive rise in input costs, with consumers feeling the effects in the form of higher prices on the high street."

Belfast Telegraph

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