UK output constrained by supply and labour issues The IHS Markit/CIPS UK Manufacturing PMI® for September read 57.1, still firmly in growth but significantly down on August’s reading (60.1).
Supply chain delays, slower new order growth and rising material and labour shortages all constrained the UK manufacturing sector in September.
Manufacturing production increased for the sixteenth consecutive month. However, the rate of expansion was the weakest since February. Growth slowed across the consumer, intermediate and investment goods sectors.
The PMI report also shows that growth at medium and large-scale producers was offset by a continued downturn among smaller firms.
Production was disrupted by a combination of input shortages, longer supplier lead times and capacity constraints – including staff shortages and difficulties hiring required skills.
Lead times were severely impacted by delays to air, land and sea freight, staff shortages at suppliers, COVID-19 and Brexit disruptions, a lack of delivery drivers and port delays.
UK manufacturers continued to report labour shortages and difficulties recruiting appropriately skilled staff. Smaller companies reported reducing employment for the first time in eight months.
New orders from domestic markets increased at a slower pace and new export work contracted for the first time in eight months.
Input and selling inflation continued to surge.
Eurozone Manufacturing growth also slows
The IHS Markit Eurozone Manufacturing PMI® slipped from 61.4 in August to 58.6 in September, with every country bar Austria recording between a two and eight-month low.
Supply constraints were the key hindrance to production schedules, although softer demand conditions also contributed. Shortages of electronic components and raw materials were widespread, with reports of poor container availability and logistical problems arising in parts of Asia.
Inflationary pressures remained acute, although input price inflation was the weakest in five months. Output price inflation, however, accelerated. There was further evidence of rising capacity pressures as backlogs rose sharply.
September car sales since 1998
The SMMT reports new care registrations in September at 215,312 units, down -34.4% on Covid-impacted 2020, and the weakest sales level since 1998, when the twice-a-year plate system was introduced.
Supply issues caused by semiconductor shortages continue to plague the industry, says the SMMT.
Sales of petrol vehicles were down -46.6% year on year, and diesel sales fell by -77.3%. However, September was the best month ever for new battery electric vehicle sales, with 32,721 BEVs registered, accounting for 15.2% of sales. The PHEV share also increased, to 6.4% and 24,961 HEVs were registered taking the share to 11.6% (from 8.0% same month 2020).
Full SMMT Release
LCV sales hit by chips shortages
September LCV registrations were down -39.5% year on year, and down rather more (-41.8%) on the pre-pandemic five-year average. Year-to-date registrations of heavier vans (>2.5t-3.5t) remain robust, with an additional 51,000 vehicles registered compared with 2020 (+39.3%).
Full SMMT Release