Comment on the Office of National Statistics (ONS) Manufacturing figures for November 09 Dec 2008 11:37 "Further decreases across the board were to be expected, with the automotive industry being the worst hit with a 4.6 per cent drop in output. In particular, the proposed temporary closure of some automotive OEM plants will have a knock-on effect on the supply chain, causing manufacturers' working capital and stock levels to rise."Despite this contraction in demand, a weakened sterling is providing some element of relief for exporters to the EU and US dollar denominated markets. This along with Government measures should help to stabilise both demand and consumer confidence."Looking ahead to next year, a combination of reduced inflationary pressure, interest rate measures and a fall in input costs, highlighted by the predicted further decrease in oil prices, could go some way to further alleviating pressures felt in the manufacturing sector which has proven itself to be resilient to economic challenges in the past."