Brexit uncertainty impacting one in three firms

The Brexit referendum has cast a pall over UK industry with around a third of businesses reporting a negative impact, according to a survey of buyers.

The Markit/CIPS Purchasing Managers’ Indexes, covering manufacturing, construction and services, all showed expansion in May but growth was impacted by uncertainty over the UK’s place in the EU.

Manufacturing growth edged out of contraction in May to 50.1, up from 49.4 in April, and against the no-change reading of 50. Growth was driven by the intermediate and consumer goods sectors, while investment goods remained in the doldrums.

The rate of contraction in input buying, against a background of drops in work-in-hand and stores of inputs and finished products, was among the quickest seen over the past three years.

Growth in the construction sector eased to 51.2 in May, down from 52 in April and signalling the weakest overall rise in business activity for almost three years. Residential and commercial activity showed little growth while civil engineering stagnated.

A reduced flow of incoming new work contributed to cautious stock policies and input buying at construction firms, though just over half of respondents predicted a rise in output over the coming year.

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Economy, General