GROWTH of UK manufacturing activity accelerated last month to its fastest pace for four years as new export orders increased at a sharper rate, but inflationary pressures in the sector remained intense, a survey shows.

The Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply’s purchasing managers’ index for UK manufacturing, a composite measure of

activity including changes in output, new orders, employment, suppliers’ delivery times and stocks of goods purchased, rose from 56.6 in October to 58.2 last month on a seasonally-adjusted basis.

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This took it further above the level of 50 deemed to separate expansion from contraction, signalling the fastest rate of increase of manufacturing activity on this composite measure since August 2013.

The manufacturing output sub-index rose

from 56.8 in October to 60.4 in November, to signal the fastest pace of increase of production since September last year.

Growth of new export orders accelerated to its fastest pace for three months.

CIPS said: “Some firms indicated that the historically weak sterling exchange rate continued to aid export competitiveness."

The rate of increase of factory gate prices accelerated in November to the fastest pace for seven months.

CIPS flagged its survey finding that “UK manufacturers continued to face substantial input cost inflation during November”.