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Coronavirus: New UK manufacturing orders rise at fastest pace since 2018

A member of staff at the Vauxhall car factory cleaning and disinfecting a work station during preparedness tests and redesign ahead of re-opening following the COVID-19 outbreak. Located in Ellesmere Port, Wirral, the factory opened in 1962 and currently employs around 1100 workers. It ceased production on 17 March 2020 and will only resume work upon the advice of the UK Government, which will involve stringent physical distancing measures being in place across the site. (Photo by Colin McPherson/Corbis via Getty Images)A member of staff at the Vauxhall car factory cleaning and disinfecting a work station during preparedness tests and redesign ahead of re-opening following the COVID-19 outbreak. Located in Ellesmere Port, Wirral, the factory opened in 1962 and currently employs around 1100 workers. It ceased production on 17 March 2020 and will only resume work upon the advice of the UK Government, which will involve stringent physical distancing measures being in place across the site. (Photo by Colin McPherson/Corbis via Getty Images)
A member of staff at a Vauxhall car factory in Ellesmere Port, Wirral. Photo: Colin McPherson/Corbis via Getty Images

The UK’s manufacturing sector continued its rebound in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic in July, with new orders growing at the fastest pace since late 2018.

The sector’s purchasing manager’s index (PMI) reading climbed to 53.3 last month, up from 50.1 in June and far above the record low of 32.6 seen in April.

PMIs are an indicator of private sector activity and are given on a scale of 1 to 100. Anything above 50 signals growth, while anything below means contraction.

The figure is nonetheless below that of an earlier flash estimate of 53.6.

“The UK manufacturing sector started the third quarter on a much firmer footing, with output growth hitting

a near three-year high and new orders rising for the first time in five months,” said Rob Dobson, a director at IHS Markit.

“The recovery strengthened as a loosening of lockdown restrictions allowed manufacturers to restart or raise production. July also saw signs of furloughed employees returning to work and customers resuming spending,” he said.

“Business optimism also rose to its highest for over two years as companies grew more hopeful that the future has brightened.”

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