UK manufacturing sees best month in over a year

<p>The improvement comes despite the crisis in the steel industry.</p>

Research has revealed that the UK's manufacturing industry saw its best month in over a year during October.

According to the Markit/CIPS data, the UK manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI), came in at 55.5 per cent. That's up from 51.8 per cent in September and any figure over 50 suggests expansion.

This result was much better than what had previously been expected and indicated the highest reading since June 2014. It was also one of the fastest rises since the survey began.

Steel industry crisis

The PMI saw improvement despite difficulties in the steel sector during October.

Since September, some 5,000 jobs have been lost or put at risk after announcements by Tata Steel and SSI UK.

Gareth Stace, director of UK Steel, told a business, innovation and skills select committee hearing that time was not on the industry's side. "Time is rapidly running out and the steel industry needs assurances from government that it is going to deliver on its promises," he explained.

Pound increases

Following the release of the PMI survey, the value of the pound went up one-fifth of a per cent against the euro and two-fifths of a per cent against the US dollar.

Since the manufacturing sector has contracted in the last two quarters, meaning that by the normal definition, it is in recession. According to official figures from the Office for National Statistics, the industry contracted by 0.3 per cent in the third quarter and 0.5 per cent in the second quarter.

However, Rob Dobson, senior economist at Markit has said the results could be indicative of further growth during the rest of the year.

"The revival provides a tentative suggestion that the manufacturers are pulling out of their recent funk, having been dogged by recession since the start of the year, and may help boost economic growth in the fourth quarter," he said

"The big question now is whether this bounceback is a one-off or the start of a sustained re-emergence from recession," he added.

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