Optimism up but orders down for SME manufacturers – CBI

CBIleach300Optimism among small and medium-sized manufacturers has risen for the first time since April 2012, even though orders from home and abroad continued to fall.

In stark contrast to the more optimistic picture for the industry at large from last week’s influential Markit/CIPS Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI), the CBI’s latest SME Trends Survey shows new orders continuing to fall, again dampening expectations for growth.

The survey shows domestic orders were static, while export orders were particularly disappointing.

Prospects for the quarter ahead are a little better, with output expected to stabilise and new orders expected to contract at a slower pace. Nevertheless, manufacturers have tempered their expectations for output growth in the quarter ahead to the lowest in a year, following successive disappointments. Meanwhile headcount is expected to fall slightly, following a year when headcount has been close to flat.

CBI head of economic analysis Anna Leach (pictured) said: “Despite another disappointing quarter for small and medium-sized manufacturers, with output continuing to fall, optimism about the general business situation has risen for the first time since spring last year.

“Firms expect demand to improve both at home and abroad and production to stabilise over the next three months. But manufacturers remain concerned about the impact of political and economic conditions overseas on external demand, reflecting on-going uncertainty about the global economic outlook.”

This material is protected by copyright Ken Hurst 2013.


About Ken Hurst

Ken Hurst began his career as a journalist in London over 30 years ago, working on a range of publications before moving on to weekly newspaper production in the newly-independent Zambia of the 1970s. He returned to the UK where his work included spells on newspapers and magazines, before moving to head up Norwich Union’s corporate affairs division. In the 1990s he moved on to freelance, co-own and publish the B2B audio magazine Sound and front the BBC radio Yesterday’s Papers programme. There followed six years as Business Editor at Britain’s biggest selling regional daily newspaper, The Eastern Daily Press, where he led an award-winning team and for whom he still writes a weekly socio/political comment column. Subsequently, he was Group Editorial Director at CBM, responsible for its UK and US magazine output – including The Manufacturer magazine – research-driven industry reports and live events content. Currently he is Contributing Editor at Works Management magazine publisher Findlay Media and Chairman of the consumer publishing house TNT Multimedia Ltd. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and of the British Association of Communicators in Business.
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