A sharp and accelerated rise in incoming new business helped to boost the headline PMI in February, while manufacturing production growth was little-changed since January. The latest rise in new order volumes was the steepest for around three-and-a-half years, which survey respondents attributed to greater sales to domestic clients alongside further export gains.
Improving manufacturing business conditions also reflected a robust rise in payroll numbers and sustained pre-production stock building in February. Meanwhile, there were signs of stretched supply chains, with delivery times from vendors lengthening for the fourteenth month running.
Greater demand for inputs and rising commodity prices contributed to a sharp rise in average cost burdens across the sector. The latest increase in manufacturing input prices was the fastest since December 2012. Efforts to alleviate pressure on operating margins led to the steepest rate of factory gate price inflation for just over four years in February.