Britain’s manufacturing sector soared in January

Growth in the UK’s manufacturing sector jumped in January, beating the expectations of economists.

That’s according to Markit’s purchasing managers’ index (PMI) just out, which came in with a score of 52.9. That’s a jump of 0.8 on December’s figures, and a beat of 1.1 points on the forecasts put out by analysts.

The PMI offers a snapshot of a sector for the month that’s just finished, well before any official economic data is released. It’s based on a poll of businesses, which tell Markit whether they’re seeing more or fewer orders, employing people or laying them off, and a number of other similar questions.

As long as the figure is over 50, there’s growth — and the jump is good news for UK manufacturing, which has been struggling a little in recent months. 52.9 in the PMI represents the best performance of the manufacturing sector in three months, thanks to growth in domestic orders.

In a statement, Markit said: “Manufacturing production increased again during January, reflecting improved inflows of new work from the domestic market.”

Here’s the chart:

Screen Shot 2016 02 01 at 09.33.52

Rob Dobson, a senior economist at Markit said:

The UK manufacturing sector registered an uptick in its rate of expansion at the start of 2016, shrugging off a number of potential headwinds, ranging from global financial market volatility to localised flooding in the North of the country.

The domestic market remains the key growth driver. In contrast, the trend in new export orders continues to disappoint, falling back into reverse gear in January. Even after recent easing in the exchange rate, a number of manufacturers are still finding that the strength of the pound against the euro is impacting order inflows.

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