The UK manufacturing sector “remained in the doldrums” at the start of the second quarter amid subdued demand and customers cutting costs.
In April the S&P Global/CIPS UK Manufacturing PMI fell to a three-month low of 47.8 and any score below 50 means this is a decline in the sector.
Last month manufacturers reported a reduction in output as customers are reducing stock, cutting costs and clients have reduced placing new orders.
Rob Dobson, director at S&P Global Market Intelligence, said, “The UK manufacturing sector remained in the doldrums at the start of the second quarter.
“Output and new orders contracted as manufacturers felt the impacts of client uncertainty, destocking and tightening cost controls.
“There was no escape from the subdued mood of the market, with both domestic and export customers remaining reticent to commit to new contracts.”
Dobson added, “There may be some light on the horizon, as manufacturers remain stoically optimistic about the outlook for the year ahead.
“But demand will need to pick up in the months ahead to warrant any increase in production and, with the UK seeing stubbornly high domestic inflation coupled with a worsening export trend, risks seem skewed to the downside.”
Gabriella Dickens, a senior UK economist for Pantheon Macroeconomics, warned the sector is “not out of the woods yet.”
“The extra support to households’ incomes in the spring Budget, the announcement of full expensing capital allowances for businesses, and China’s reopening probably are helping to brighten the mood,” she said.
“But we still think that a material recovery in demand is several months away.”