Growth 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