Brexit blamed for manufacturing slump

London, UK: Britain’s manufacturing sector shrank last month for the first time in almost three years as new orders fell and stockpiling eased, according to the latest IHS Markit purchasing managers’ index.

The index fell to 49.4 in May, falling below the 50 line that separates expansion from contraction – the first time the industry has shrunk since July 2016.

The Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply warned that the UK manufacturing sector could “remain in contraction territory” due to a slowdown in the global economy and trade wars.

The stockpiling part of the index dropped to 49.3 in May, down from an all-time high of 66 two months earlier. New orders from both domestic and overseas clients fell. Stockpiling had helped bolster the UK economic expansion at the start of the year as companies built up their stock in case the UK left the EU without a deal.

The IHS report said “manufacturers reported increased difficulties in convincing clients to commit to new contracts during May”.

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