Encouraging signs for the manufacturing sector with latest PMI - but urgent action on Brexit is needed

Mike Thornton, head of manufacturing, RSM said: ‘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 six 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 show 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 reasonable stead to continue operations.’

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?

‘The coronavirus pandemic and associated operational impacts have meant attention has been drawn away from Brexit for many over the last 8 months. The continued uncertainty of a no deal means a lot of manufacturers are looking at remedial action as opposed to more strategic discussions. Urgent action by manufacturers is needed to address trade arrangements with an increase in administration and disruption to business inevitable, irrespective as to whether a deal is secured.’