Manufacturing SMEs express record levels of optimism

CBIGifford300newOptimism among small and medium-sized manufacturers about the business situation rose at the fastest pace since records began in 1988, according to the CBI’s latest SME Trends Survey.

New orders increased in the three months to October for the first time since July 2012, driven by domestic demand which rose at their fastest rate since January 1995. Export orders rose at their fastest rate since April 2011, while optimism around export prospects for the next 12 months increased strongly.

Alongside the improvement in demand, output rose modestly and is expected to pick up at a faster pace over the next three months, accompanied by a further improvement in orders.

Greater optimism and activity among SMEs has led to a step change in investment plans for the year ahead, with forecasts for spending on buildings, plant and machinery, product innovation and training all in positive territory.

CBI Director of Economics Stephen Gifford (pictured), said it had been a positive quarter for SME manufacturers, with new orders and output both on the rise, and further improvements expected next quarter.

He continued: “Optimism about the general business situation has improved and is now at a record high, and there is evidence of a general thaw in investment intentions for the year ahead.”

Copyright Ken Hurst 2013

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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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