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UK manufacturing sector upbeat on vaccine progress

With a third national lockdown inevitably impacting the economy, signs of optimism have emerged in new data from IHS Markit, with UK business being the most optimistic it has been for seven years.

The IHS Markit’s Purchasing Managers’ Indexes serve to give an up-to-date overview of activity in various UK sectors based on questionnaires completed by service providers and manufacturers. The Manufacturing PMI for February was 54.9, which is well over the neutral score of 50 and indicates the sector is expanding.

The service sector managed to just about tread water, meanwhile, with a PMI of 49.7, which is a considerable improvement on the previous month’s figure of 39.5. It also beat expectations of a PMI of 41, which would have indicated a further decline in the service sector.

Of course, no matter how efficient manufacturing gets, such as by using Fuchs Cassida food safe lubricants, overall activity is inevitably lower than a year ago due to the current national lockdown affecting the hospitality industry. Tim Moore, an economist at Markit, points to signs of recovery:

“More encouragingly, although the data hint at a renewed contraction of the economy in the first quarter, business expectations for the year ahead improved to the highest for almost seven years, suggesting the economy is poised for recovery.”

Moore added that the roll out of the COVID-19 vaccine is fuelling confidence that restrictions will be eased this year, and this is currently dominating over concerns in some companies about trading issues resulting from Brexit.

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