U.K. Output Expands Amid Stockpiling Before Brexit Deadline

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The U.K. economy returned to growth this month as stockpiling before the end of the Brexit transition period bolstered manufacturing.

IHS Markit’s composite Purchasing Managers Index rose to 50.7 from 49 in November, tipping it back above the critical 50 mark that signals expansion. A gauge of factory output was at 55.3 as global trade continued to revive.

U.K. Output Expands Amid Stockpiling Before Brexit Deadline

Supply chains came under new pressure though as Brexit congestion led to freight delays at ports, longer wait times and shortages of some materials. Services remained just below the threshold indicating contraction amid restrictions to limit the spread of Covid-19. The pace of job shedding eased to the slowest since before the pandemic.

“The hit to the economy from the second wave of virus infections has so far been far less harsh than the first wave in the spring,” said Chris Williamson, an economist at IHS Markit. “The recovery lacked vigor, however, as the service sector remained under particular strain.”

The survey is a flash estimate based on about 85% of the usual total responses.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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