COLCHESTER, England—The United Kingdom rubber manufacturing sector has seen a sharp decline in output, according to recently issued data from the Office of National Statistics.
The value of gross production by the industry fell 18 percent year-on-year in 2017, to $2.06 billion, according to ONS figures published in November.
Despite the decline in production, the British Rubber and Polyurethane Products Association, in reviewing the figures, pointed to several trends which it believes indicates that industry remains strong.
"Gross value-added, which is the indicator of the real value of the industry, went up a little," BRPPA Director John Dorken said. "Employment costs fell sharply reflecting a welcome rise in productivity."
Dorken also pointed to a 27 percent rise in capex to $53.3 million. Meanwhile, he siad, the total number of companies in the rubber manufacturing sector remained "broadly the same" at 15,000.
While cautioning about the nature of survey-data, Dorken believes "the ONS figures do show that the fortunes of the sector over the last decade have stabilized." The rubber sector, he said, still includes "world-beating" suppliers to the automotive, aerospace, transport, medical, and oil and gas industries.
"There is every reason to think we shall continue to compete successfully in the future," Dorken said.