February was another strong month for the manufacturing sector according to Investec’s latest Purchasing Managers’ Index, representing the ninth successive month of improving conditions in the industry.

The seasonally-adjusted PMI was 52.9 last month, up slightly from January, with companies reporting a strong increase in new orders and continued – albeit slower – growth in production.

The increased activity has led many firms to increase their job numbers, particularly amongst intermediate and investment goods firms.

According to Investec, the continued rise in new orders has been helped by improved demand from Europe and Britain, which correlates with an improvement in the regional economy.

However respondents did note a continued increase in input prices, while output prices fell for the second month in a row. This has led to a narrowing margin for manufacturers, with increased competitive pressures being blamed for the shift.

Investec also warns that the recent bad weather may negatively impact some components of the March index, though it should not have a significant impact on the underlying, positive momentum in the sector.