UK manufacturing expands at fastest rate since 1995

Upbeat mood in Britain contrasts with pessimistic Eurozone surveys

Robots stand ready to produce the new Mini Cooper at BMW’s plant at Cowley, Oxford, this week. Carmakers are held largely responsible for an increase in manufacturing output in the third quarter of 2013.

Mike Hawes, the SMMT’s chief executive, said: “UK car manufacturing for the home market increased strongly in October. With European demand showing early signs of recovery, we expect production to continue positively in the coming months.” However, output from the manufacturing sector as a whole remains more than 8% below its peak before the financial crisis.

Indications of the upbeat mood among manufacturers in the UK contrasts with more pessimistic surveys from the Eurozone, where this month’s first estimates of sentiment among purchasing managers – so-called “flash PMIs” – suggest that the economic recovery is petering out in several countries, including France.

Chris Williamson, of data provider Markit, which compiles the survey, said: “The fall in the PMI for a second successive month suggests that the European Central Bank was correct to cut interest rates to a record low at its last meeting, and the further loss of growth momentum will raise calls for policy makers to do more.”

Photograph: Andrew Cowie/AFP/Getty Images