Manufacturers in surprise leap but eurozone picture darkening
Tuesday 03 April 2012
A surprise March boost for Britain's manufacturers fuelled hopes of averting a double-dip recession yesterday, but the malaise over the eurozone's industrial sector is worse than feared, according to industry surveys.
The latest snapshot of Britain's industrial prowess showed growth among manufacturers picking up to a 10-month high, as well as faster expansion in February than first thought, the latest Markit/Chartered Institute of Purchasing & Supply activity index showed.
But the UK picture contrasted starkly with a worsening downturn in Europe, which is sliding into a renewed recession. France, the second-biggest economy in the single-currency bloc, was worst affected in a miserable month for the eurozone as new orders slumped. The region's economic powerhouse, Germany, also saw a worrying slide in export orders.
UK firms are suffering from one of the biggest spikes in costs for nearly 20 years as crude oil soars above $120 a barrel, but the Cips survey, where a score over 50 signals growth, accelerated to 52.1 during the month. Manufacturers are chasing orders in Africa, Japan and South-east Asia to make up for tougher conditions in Europe, the UK's biggest market.
Despite a warning from the OECD economic think-tank last week over a technical double-dip in the UK, two quarters of contraction, experts said the economy was likely to expand by 0.2 per cent or 0.3 per cent.
Ross Walker, an economist at Royal Bank of Scotland, said: "The manufacturing sector alone is not large enough to drive UK economic recovery, but the survey evidence suggests output in the sector will expand at above-trend rates in Q1."
The upbeat figures will have little bearing on the Bank of England's policy meeting this week, when it is expected to hold interest rates unchanged at 0.5 per cent, but is likely to sharpen debate over a possible extension to its money printing.
- 1 Crystal meth addict 'gouged out his eyes and ate them' while high on drug, Australian MP claims
- 2 As a white man, I'm surprised more women aren't tweeting the hashtag #KillAllWhiteMen
- 3 The ten most unequal developed countries in the world
- 4 Saudi Arabia 'seeking to head United Nations Human Rights Council'
- 5 Toddler throws a tantrum at the White House – in front of Barack Obama
JK Rowling horrified by Harry Potter actor Matthew Lewis's raunchy photoshoot
Saudi Arabia 'seeking to head United Nations Human Rights Council'
The ten most unequal developed countries in the world
Toddler throws a tantrum at the White House – in front of Barack Obama
Irish people are travelling home from all over the world so they can vote to legalise gay marriage
As a white man, I'm surprised more women aren't tweeting the hashtag #KillAllWhiteMen
Scotland may have to leave the EU even if it votes to stay in, David Cameron confirms
Report finds that Britain's wages are the most unequal in Europe
Almost a third of school pupils believe 'Muslims are taking over our country', study claims
The day that Britain resigned as a global power
Gay marriage 'Bert and Ernie' cake bakery found guilty of discrimination in Northern Ireland
iJobs Money & Business
£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...
£45,000 - £55,000: Neil Pavier: Are you looking for your next opportunity for ...
£45,000 - £55,000: Sheridan Maine: Are you a newly qualified ACA/ACCA/ACMA qua...
£50,000 - £60,000: Laura Norton: Are you looking for an opportunity within a w...