Britain's purchasing managers' index (PMI) for the manufacturing sector rose to a three-year high of 57.5 in December, up from 55.6 in November, thanks to stockpiling before the end of the Brexit transition period and supply-chain disruption, according to a joint report released here Monday.
Clients bringing forward orders to beat the end of the Brexit transition period and the ongoing bounce from the re-opening of the global economy boosted inflows of new orders and pushed output higher, said the report published by IHS Markit, a London-based global information provider, and the Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply (CIPS), a Britain-based global procurement and supply organisation.
"The Manufacturing PMI rose to its highest level in over three years in December, mainly reflecting a boost from last-minute preparations before the end of the Brexit transition period," said Rob Dobson, director at IHS Markit.
The report said that supply chains for manufacturers also saw a substantial disruption in December, as "raw material shortages, port delays, freight capacity issues (air, sea and land) and Brexit concerns all contributed to supply-chain disruption."
"This rush to secure supplies meant already stressed supply chains paid the price with some of the longest delays in the near 30-year survey history," said Duncan Brock, group director at the CIPS.
Brock added British makers still have a great deal to worry about after a severely turbulent year, as "job numbers continue to fall, and material shortages have resulted in the highest cost inflation since 2018."
"The sector is holding its breath until the terms of the new (London-Brussels) deal are fully understood and whether new business can be sustained in the same way in a post-Brexit marketplace," Brock said.
Britain ended its European Union (EU) membership on Jan. 31, 2020, four and half years after the country voted to leave the regional bloc.
The EU and Britain announced on Dec. 24, 2020 that they had reached an agreement that will govern their trade and security relationship starting from Jan. 1, 2021, after the end of the Brexit transition period.
The deal, which came after nine months of arduous negotiations between Britain and the EU, is the biggest bilateral trade deal signed by either side, covering trade worth around 668 billion pounds (about 913 billion U.S. dollars).
The EU is Britain's largest trading partner. Britain is the EU's third largest trading partner in goods, after the United States and China. Enditem