Monday, February 04, 2008

UK manufacturing growth stalls

Growth in the manufacturing sector slowed almost to a standstill in January as export orders fell, but high oil prices drove companies’ costs to a three year high, a survey showed on Friday.

The Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply and NTC, the research group, said their index of manufacturing activity fell from 52.4 in December to 50.6 in January, well below analysts’ forecasts and the weakest in more than two years. A reading below 50 would mean activity was contracting.

Export orders fell for the first time since 2005 as the US economy softened, despite the depreciation in sterling, and manufacturers also reported the fastest decline in demand for investment goods since September 2001.

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