UK manufacturing smashes expectations amid surge in Brexit stockpiling

UK manufacturing reaches 13-month high but analysts say results are 'misleading' and put the surge down to Brexit stockpiling The latest manufacturing figures showed a reading of 55.1 for last month This marks a 13-month high and a massive jump on the 52.1 recorded in February But experts put the surge down to firms stepping up their Brexit preparations

By Emily Hardy For This Is Money

Published: 12:21 BST, 1 April 2019 | Updated: 21:42 BST, 1 April 2019

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UK manufacturing defied the doomsayers last month, with the sector smashing forecasts and reaching a 13-month high. 

A reading of 55.1 for March marked a huge jump on the 52.1 figure recorded in February, and flew in the face of economists' expectations of 51.2. 

However, those behind the survey put the jump in manufacturing activity down to Brexit stockpiling, as firms acted to avoid being caught short ahead of March 29 - Britain's original EU departure date. 

Many car manufacturers are understood to have stockpiled cars in the UK last month due to uncertainty ahead of the original Brexit date

Many car manufacturers are understood to have stockpiled cars in the UK last month due to uncertainty ahead of the original Brexit date

'Manufacturers reported a surge of business activity in March as companies stepped up their preparations for potential Brexit-related disruptions,' said Rob Dobson, a director at IHS Markit. 

He added that output, employment and new orders all rose at higher rates, according to the manufacturing purchasing managers' index (PMI), as manufacturers and their clients 'raced to build safety stocks'. 

David

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