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Manufacuring production and new orders expand in December

The UK's manufacturing sector finished 2012 on a high, with levels of production and new orders rising an unexpectedly high rates in December. The latest Purchasing Manager's Index compiled by Markit/CIPS recorded a 15-month high of 51.4, where anything above 50 represents growth. Further, manufacturing output increased for the second month running, with the rate of growth accelerating sharply to a 20-month high.

While much of the focus for 2012 has been on export, the higher output in December's figures is said mainly to reflect improved demand from the domestic market. There are signs, too, that global trade flows will stabilise as China and the US strengthen, and the downturn in the Eurozone eases. Rob Dobson, senior economist at Markit, comments: "If the recovery in overseas markets continues to build, at the start of 2013, this would be of major benefit to UK exporters."

David Noble, chief executive office at CIPS, adds: “In what has been a difficult year for the manufacturing sector, it is very encouraging to see 2012 end on a high, with a second consecutive increase in output and the strongest rate of growth in 20 months presenting a more solid platform for 2013. While December’s figures do not reverse the disappointing performance over the year as a whole, manufacturers will hope that the solid upturn in production volumes is the first sign of a more stable footing going into 2013.”
 

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