UK manufacturers prepared for Brexit by building up stockpiles of goods at a record pace last month, a closely-watched survey has suggested.
The research, by IHS Markit/CIPS, found companies were adding to stocks of inputs at the fastest pace in the survey’s 27-year history.
The survey’s Purchasing Managers’ Index fell to 52.8 from 54.2 in December. A figure above 50 implies expansion.
Growth in new orders slowed and employment fell, the survey found.
“The start of 2019 saw UK manufacturers continue their preparations for Brexit,” said Rob Dobson, director at IHS Markit.
“Stocks of inputs increased at the sharpest pace in the 27-year history, as buying activity was stepped up to mitigate against potential supply-chain disruptions in coming months.
“There were also signs that inventories of finished goods were being bolstered to ensure warehouses are well stocked to meet ongoing contractual obligations.”