Manufacturing output grew at a rapid pace last year, outperforming the economy as a whole for the first time since 2011.
That improvement was part of a more global pickup in manufacturing activity. A slightly less positive picture is emerging for early 2018. Output growth seems to have slowed in a number of markets and, for the UK, a particular issue is that the boost to competitiveness from sterling’s depreciation may be starting to fade.
One downside risk to global growth is that escalating anti-free trade rhetoric may turn into something more serious. Nevertheless, the positives for manufacturing continue to outweigh the negatives and so 2018 should be another good year for the sector.