For the fifth month running, UK factory production shrank in September, leading to the longest manufacturing downturn since the financial crisis.

According to new figures in the purchasing managers index (PMI), manufacturing performance across Britain showed a reading of 48.3, an increase since August, which was at 47.4.

The last time figures shared the pattern of this decline for five months running, was back in 2009 at the height of the financial crisis.

Rob Dobson, director at IHS Markit, said: “The UK manufacturing downturn continued in September, adding to signs that the sector may be sliding into recession.

“Output, new orders and employment all fell further as rising political, trade and economic uncertainties exacerbated concerns about Brexit.

“Some manufacturers noted increased inventory building activity in preparation for the forthcoming exit date, but the impact of such Brexit-related stock building was dwarfed by weakening demand for other customers, due in part to clients routing supply chains away from the UK.”

Duncan Brock, group director at the Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply (CIPS), said that “Brexit, combined with a slowdown in the global economy, rising trade tensions and potential oil supply difficulties in the Middle East, means we’re likely to see a chilling end to the last quarter as Halloween approaches.”

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