UK manufacturing has hit a 13-month-high for March, in stark contrast to the four-month low we saw in February 2019. Brexit remains the driving force in the industry, however, as the improvement in results comes from stockpiling to build safety stocks as a Brexit buffer. Record increases in inventories of finished goods and purchases have contributed to the March 2019 figure of 55.1.
Meanwhile, the Eurozone has seen a steeper decline in manufacturing sector activity. Today saw the lowest IHS Markit Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) result in six years at 47.5; falling further below the median line between growth and contraction of 50.0.
Output is up
UK manufacturing output grew in March, as companies worked hard to build stocks and meet increased new business demand, both internationally and domestically.
“It’s encouraging that export market demand has improved since the struggles at the start of the year,” commented David Johnson, founding director of currency specialist, Halo Financial.
“Fluctuating exchange rates have had an impact on export demand in recent months, but a generally renewed sense of confidence in the Pound may be helping support longer-term trade plans. As we head closer toward the UK’s exit from the EU, planning ahead for key political and economic developments and their effects on Sterling throughout the wider supply chain and, ultimately, manufacturer’s bottom line, has become Priority Number One.”
New business and employment are up
With rising new business, employment prospects improved across the sector, as jobs grew. “This is welcome news following February and January’s worrying job reductions across the industry,” added Atul Kariya, manufacturing lead and Partner at business advisors, tax and accountancy firm, MHA MacIntyre Hudson.
“We hope this will boost confidence in the sector once more, as there has long been a positive outlook from UK manufacturers, despite the challenges businesses are facing from Brexit, US-China trade tensions, and other geopolitical factors. Forecasting, forward planning and building stocks to create more of a safety net is proving vital for commercial success in the current market.”
“I would urge caution, however, as the trend for positive spikes of this kind does not necessarily forecast longer-term growth, particularly if the political uncertainty continues.”
Optimistic, but cautious…
With continued uncertainty, manufacturers are concerned about constraints on output growth for the future, but nearly half of respondents to the survey expect stronger growth in a year’s time. As ever, optimism prevails, with high hopes for improving demand, plans for launching new products, new market expansion and, of course, less uncertainty in the months ahead.
Laurence Gavin, partner at Irwin Mitchell, concluded: “This is an encouraging result for the sector and it is particularly pleasing to see that despite the current political situation, almost half expect to see stronger growth in a year’s time. We are entering another crucial week in Brexit discussions today and hopefully there will be some certainty for the sector so that businesses can take some longer term decisions over investment and expansion.”
– ENDS –
Notes to editors
The Halo Story
Halo Financial are currency specialists, offering a comprehensive range of tailored currency services to individuals and businesses since 2005. At Halo Financial, our team make a genuine difference to our clients by caring enough to build meaningful relationships. We work in close collaboration with our professional partners to create bespoke currency strategies and services for our clients.
Honesty, Integrity, Collaboration
In a crowded and increasingly impersonal marketplace, Halo Financial brings honesty, insight, knowledge and the human touch to every interaction with our clients. We believe, as our clients do, that not everything can be automated. At Halo Financial, we’re all about real relationships and genuine collaboration. Our clients, partners and team are all real people, never a number. We won’t jam up your inbox with jargon or fob you off to a distant call centre.
We pride ourselves on offering a flexible and personalised approach for every client, simplifying the seemingly complex foreign exchange market to protect against and make the whole process easier. With a team of qualified technical analysts, the company is authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority and regulated by HM Revenue and Customs.
The Halo Heroes: Our Clients
Our clients tell us time and again that we have helped them make their currency transfers better: easier, quicker – with no fuss and a friendly voice at the end of the phone.
We know that the people we work with are special: the go-getters, the doers; ready to try something different. And we’re different, too.
90% of our clients come back to us to make more international money transfers and recommend our currency services to friends, family and colleagues. That really means a lot to us – we’re always striving to keep people happy and provide a great experience.
“Excellent”, “Reliable”, “Professional”, “Knowledgeable”, and “Helpful”– just some of the great feedback received as a Feefo.com Gold Trusted Service Provider. The team at Halo is proud that customers rate their services so highly and are happy to recommend to others. The company is always striving to provide the best possible service and innovate services and products in line with clients’ ever-evolving needs.
Halo Financial has 5 out 5 Star Customer Gold Merchant Status via independent review website, Feefo.com, this year winning their Gold Trusted Service award for the fifth year running.
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Media contacts: Rachael Kinsella
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