Stuff that matters

Britain’s factories extended their post-lockdown recovery in June and ramped up hiring, but they also faced record inflation pressures due to supply chain problems caused by the coronavirus pandemic, a survey showed on Thursday.

The IHS Markit/CIPS UK Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) dipped to 63.9 from an all-time high of 65.6 in May. It was also down a touch from a preliminary “flash” reading for June of 64.2.

The pace of expansion in output, new orders and employment remained among the highest of the survey’s near 30-year history after COVID-19 restrictions in Britain and beyond were eased.

But the combination of surging demand and lingering social-distancing requirements caused delays in supply chains and fanned inflationary pressures, IHS Markit said.

Average input costs rose at the fastest pace on record with prices rising for chemicals, electronics, energy, food products, metals, plastics and timber.

As a result, selling prices rose by the most since those figures were first collected in November 1999.

The Bank of England said last week it thought a rise in consumer price inflation in Britain had further to run but would prove temporary, as it kept its huge monetary stimulus programme in place.

Final PMIs for the services and construction sectors are due on Monday and Tuesday next week.