Manufacturing growth continues to slow

Growth in the manufacturing sector slowed further in August, with both new orders and output increasing less rapidly than before.

The latest Markit/CIPS Purchasing Manager's Index (PMI) edged down last month to 52.5 from 54.8 in July, its lowest reading for 14 months. Markit said the slowdown was broad based with new jobs, export orders and new business all weakening. Commenting on the PMI data, Lee Hopley, chief economist at EEF, said: "The picture emerging from all manufacturing surveys is a softening in the pace of expansion, though the sector hasn't moved into the slow lane, is still growing and remains on track for a solid increase in output this year overall. But we've seen a range of factors start to weigh on demand for UK goods, particularly from flagging overseas markets. "Trading conditions have become somewhat more challenging as we've moved into the second half of this year so it remains critical that policy makers continue to focus efforts on sustaining growth across manufacturing and, the economy, in the rest of this parliament." Rob Dobson, senior economist at survey compiler Markit, added that the underlying dynamics of the survey provided a consistent picture of a broad slowdown. However: "Sustaining the upturn is nonetheless still a positive in itself, and it should be noted that the pace of expansion remains solid and a touch above its long-run average." Nonetheless, he said, it was becoming increasingly evident that UK industry is not immune to the impacts of rising geopolitical and global market uncertainty. "It therefore looks as if manufacturing will provide a lesser contribution to the UK economic growth story in the third quarter than at the start of the year," he concluded.