Manufacturing production in the UK rose to its highest level in 13 months in March, according to a closely watched survey.
The Markit/CIPS purchasing managers' index (PMI) survey rose to 55.1 last month, the highest since February 2018. With any figure above 50 indicating growth, it marks a 32nd consecutive month increasing production in the manufacturing industry.Rob Dobson, director at IHS Markit, which compiles the survey, said: “Manufacturers reported a surge of business activity in March as companies stepped-up their preparations for potential Brexit-related disruptions."Output, employment and new orders all rose at increased rates as manufacturers and their clients raced to build safety stocks. Stocking of finished goods and input inventories surged to new survey-record highs."The survey also found that factories continued to increase their stockpiles of raw materials in preparation for any disruption that comes as a result of Brexit.Duncan Brock, group director at the CIPS, said: "Businesses on both sides of the channel intensified their efforts this month to accumulate materials with the fastest increase in the stock building of finished goods since 1992, as the UK hurtled towards the Brexit deadline. Firms attempted to guarantee certainty of supply, lock in good price deals and protect their operations from withering under the pressures of uncertainty as new orders from domestic and export markets such as mainland Europe rose at their fastest rate this year."