A squeeze on household finances dampened spending on consumer goods last month, pushing UK manufacturing to a weaker end despite an otherwise positive year.
IHS Markit’s manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI) for the month of December came in at 56.3, at the bottom end of expectations but still well above 50, which denotes growth.
The consumer goods sector lost momentum, suggesting that shoppers remain reluctant to splash out on big-ticket items. The PMI also showed manufacturers added staff at the slowest pace in six months, showing that job creation, which has been strong, is now slowing.
While growth in new business, output, export orders and employment slowed in December, the PMI stayed above its 55.9 average for 2017 as a whole.