Manufacturing orders grow at fastest rate since 2011, says CBI

CBIGifford300newGrowth in new manufacturing orders was the strongest since April 2011, according to the latest CBI quarterly Industrial Trends Survey. In the three months to January 2014, domestic orders rose, uncertainty about demand fell and investment intentions for the year ahead picked up.

The survey found that growth in total orders and domestic orders was the most rapid since April 2011. Output growth remained solid, albeit slightly lower than that recorded in November and December.

Manufacturers are optimistic about continued expansion in the next quarter, with expectations of growth in new orders at its strongest since April 2012.

CBI Director of Economics Stephen Gifford (pictured) said the UK manufacturing recovery was continuing to build and confidence had improved.  “However,” he warned, “now is not the time to relax and take our foot off the gas. There are still risks ahead and our manufacturers need help to break into high-growth export markets.”

In the last three months, three in ten manufacturing businesses indicated they were more optimistic about the general business situation than three months ago, more than one third reported an increase in total orders, almost four in ten firms reported a rise in output volumes while a similar number expected new orders to increase and anticipated a rise in output volume.

Manufacturers’ investment intentions compared with the previous 12 months improved sharply for buildings as well as plant & machinery. They also remained robust for product & process innovation and training.

The number of firms citing uncertainty about demand as a constraint on investment fell sharply from 59% to 45%, the lowest since October 2010.

The number of firms seeing political/economic conditions abroad as a constraint on export orders in the coming three months fell for a third-consecutive quarter to 27%, the lowest since July 2012.

Copyright Ken Hurst 2014

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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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