Industry is still on track

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Manufacturing’s recovery remains on track despite a slow down in April, says Barclays Corporate’s Sheffield-based head of manufacturing in the north, Chris Forrest.

The latest Purchasing Managers’ Index for manufacturing shows the sector at a seven-month low after growth in new orders slowed sharply, despite an increase in exports.

Commenting on the slowdown, Chartered Institute of Purchasing & Supply’s chief executive, David Noble, said: “The outlook for UK manufacturing is definitely bleaker than it was at the start of the year. The sector was racing ahead just a few months ago but there are now clear signs that it is running out of steam.”

But Mr Forrest said the manufacturing sector had experienced an unexpectedly strong first quarter, fuelled by a spike in re-stocking.

Mr Forrest said: “Despite a fall in the April PMI figures, the manufacturing recovery remains on track with the figures showing growth for the past 21 months. The headwind facing manufacturers, as we enter the new tax year, will be the fiscal changes impacting on household spending and the prospect of impending interest rate hikes. What manufacturers need is a steady and sustainable recovery and that certainly remains evident within our client base.”