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UK Manufacturing Contracts On Political, Economic Uncertainties

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The UK manufacturing downturn continued in November amid the uncertainty caused by the forthcoming general elections and the delay in Brexit, a closely watched survey showed Monday.

The headline factory Purchasing Managers' Index fell to 48.9 from 49.6 in October, according to final data from IHS Markit and Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply. But the score was above the flash estimate of 48.3.

The PMI has remained below the neutral mark of 50.0 for seven successive months.

Duncan Brock, group director at the CIPS, said "A heavy sense of inevitability hung around the sector in November as it continued to suffer the effects of a lethal cocktail of Brexit uncertainty, slowing global growth and an impending General Election."

The sector's performance is unlikely to change any time soon, which means a bleak beginning for the industry in 2020, Brock added.

Companies reduced production in response to lower new order intakes in November. Efforts to reverse high stock holdings also contributed to the decline.

Reflecting tough conditions in both domestic and foreign markets, new orders decreased for the seventh consecutive month. Companies attributed this to de-stocking at clients following the delay to Brexit and the ongoing uncertainty surrounding the political, economic and global trade situations.

Data showed that manufacturing employment decreased for the eighth month in a row with the pace of job losses the steepest since September 2012.

Average selling prices increased for the forty-third month in a row. However, charge inflation remained relatively mild overall. Input costs decreased for the first time since March 2016, linked to lower global commodity prices and exchange rate effects.

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