UK manufacturing upturn continues in October amid further loss of growth momentum

LONDON, Nov. 2 (Xinhua) — The recovery in Britain’s manufacturing sector continued in October, yet the upturn has further lost impetus as the initial boost to growth from the economy reopening faded and job losses accelerated, according to a report published Monday.

The purchasing managers’ index (PMI) for the manufacturing sector was 53.7 in October, down from 54.1 in September, said the report published by IHS MARKIT/CIPS.

“October saw the UK manufacturing recovery continue, albeit with the upturn losing momentum amid ongoing lockdown measures and signs that growth could weaken further in coming months after Brexit-related stockpiling,” said Rob Dobson, director at IHS Markit, a London-based global information provider.

The report also showed the trend in new export business strengthened in the month, reflecting “increased demand from China and the U.S. and a temporary boost from Brexit stock building by clients in Europe.”

“UK and European businesses were stocking up before the Brexit deadline, and as supply chains opened up further, more orders were received from countries like China,” said Duncan Brock, group director at the Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply (CIPS), a UK-based global procurement and supply organisation.

Meanwhile, manufacturing employment declined for the ninth successive month in October, as the consumer goods industry recorded the steepest rate of job cutting during the month, said the report.

Regarding the business sentiment in October, more than 60 percent of companies expect output to rise over the coming year, compared to only 10 percent forecasting a drop, said the report.

However, some firms also raised concerns about the potential impact of both the ongoing pandemic and Brexit uncertainty, said the report.

“The outlook for the remainder of the year has therefore become increasingly uncertain…Concerns about near-term risks posed by the pandemic, changes to COVID restrictions and related stimulus measures, plus Brexit anxieties, continue to fog the future,” added Dobson.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced Saturday that England will go into a month-long lockdown from Thursday until Dec. 2, the second of its kind since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in Britain, as the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country had surpassed the 1 million mark.

“The coronavirus outbreak has impacted the UK economy in many ways”, the library of Britain’s House of Commons, or the lower house of parliament, said in its website. “The magnitude of the recession caused by the virus is unprecedented in modern times.”

To bring life back to normal, countries, such as Britain, China, Russia and the United States, are racing against time to develop coronavirus vaccines.

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