Commenting on today’s PMI data, Ms Lee Hopley, Chief Economist at EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation, said:
“The data confirms subdued activity across the sector at the start of the year, coming on the heels of a flat 2015. The main factors keeping a lid on growth don’t come as a particular surprise, with the effects of the low oil price and weak global demand part of the manufacturing narrative for over a year.
“Amidst the somewhat disappointing start to the year and the significant challenges facing the steel sector, which have once again come to the fore in recent days, there are still pockets of growth, notably in the intermediate production sectors. Industries such as chemicals, rubber and plastics and electronics are also buoyed by low input costs and domestic support from an increase in construction activity.
“However, there isn’t anything in this, or other surveys of late to suggest that manufacturing will make much of a dent in the imbalanced growth across the UK economy in the coming quarters.”