Encouraging signs for the manufacturing sector but urgent action on Brexit is needed

There are more encouraging signs from the CIPS UK Manufacturing PMI for November with another significant jump to 55.6 from 53.7 in October. The tally of continuous expansion now stretches to 6 straight months.

Lockdown 2.0 nowhere near as traumatic as operations continue

Despite the UK being in a second lockdown since early November, the resilience and adaptability shown by the sector continues to shine through in these statistics. The industry has clearly learned lessons from the first lockdown and the working practices and processes put in place earlier in the year have held businesses in good stead and enabled operations to continue.

Rising demand in export markets

There is also rising demand from export markets, especially in China and the EU. When it comes to the EU, the fear of potential border delays post 31 December and the raft of tax and VAT changes that need to be fully understood and planned for are making some manufacturers consider stockpiling once again to minimise immediate disruption. 

Deal or no deal – urgent action still needed!

For some, the coronavirus pandemic and the associated operational impacts have meant attention has been drawn away from Brexit over the last 8 months. Others may have been hoping for further clarity through an announcement of a trade deal, but the diminishing likelihood of this means they are looking at remedial action as opposed to the more strategic discussions that might have been possible a few months ago. Urgent action by manufacturers is needed to address trade arrangements with an increase in administration and disruption to business inevitable, whether there is a deal or not. 

Those that take action now will be better placed because of it after 31 December.