Activity Levels Offer Ray of Hope for Manufacturers

Article excerpt

Byline: Graeme Evans

MANUFACTURERS were yesterday offered a ray of hope after activity levels showed signs of a rally from the sharp slump seen in March.

The Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply's UK-wide barometer of conditions in the sector stood at 48.3 in April - compared with 46.3 a month earlier.

While the performance still shows contraction in the sector - a figure of 50 represents no change - CIPS said the results did provide some hope.

Director Roy Ayliffe added, ``The manufacturing industry managed to pull itself back in April, despite the effect of the war on economic stab i

i t y. '' The rise is the first seen by the index in six months after faltering conditions sent the figure for March to a 15-month

ow.

Production levels were sharply reduced during March as firms feared disruption to their order books in the face of a prolonged conflict in Iraq.

But with the end of war reducing uncertainty over oil prices, demand returned to more usual levels in April and lessened the impact on output levels.

The improvement in confidence was reflected in the CIPS new orders index, which recorded 49. …