The latest Markit/CIPS UK Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index has positive indications for manufacturing output moving from 2013 into 2014.
In December 2013, the PMI stood at 57.3, a marginal drop from November, but still relatively high compared with recent months as a whole, and slightly above the average value of 57.2 for the final quarter.
Manufacturing output was up following its ninth consecutive monthly increase, thanks in part to a dual boost from increasing new orders and intensified activity to clear backlogs.
Data was compiled between December 5th and 18th, and is seasonally adjusted to give a true indication of monthly performance, free from the effects of weather and one-off events like Christmas.
However, one potentially negative impact in early 2014 could come from price inflation, both in terms of input costs for manufacturers, and the prices they charge to customers.
Inflation has been a concern throughout the recent recessionary period, and prices continue to climb, with input and output costs alike rising faster in December than in the preceding months.
Rob Dobson, senior economist at Markit, the compilers of the survey, said: “With the manufacturing sector still some 9% off its pre-crisis peak production, the question everyone wants answering is whether this upturn can develop into a self-sustaining recovery.
“The news is still good on this score, as growth is coming from a broad base that should help keep the rebound on track during the early stages of 2014.”