Bumper year-end for UK manufacturing

Posted on 11 Jan 2018 and read 631 times
Bumper year-end for UK manufacturingManufacturing order books were close to a 30-year high in the three months to December, according to the latest CBI (www.cbi.org.uk) industrial trends survey.

This showed that strong overall order books were driven by motor vehicles and transport equipment, as well as the mechanical engineering sector, with 14 out of 17 sub-sectors reporting that order books were above normal levels.

That said, export order books weakened slightly compared with November’s record levels but were still strong.

Output growth was steady — and quite brisk — in the three-month period, at a rate that was “far above the long-run average”.

However, survey respondents expect output growth to moderate over the next quarter, although manufacturers expect output prices to rise at the fastest rate since June in the quarter ahead.

Anna Leach, CBI Head of Economic Intelligence, said: “Towards the end of 2017, UK manufacturers’ total order books were at a near 30-year high, with export order books remaining at their strongest since the mid-1990s; and while the low level of sterling continues to support exporters, cost pressures remain intense.

"However, businesses will expect to see the Government’s Industrial Strategy make rapid progress next year to support manufacturing and the wider economy in every corner of the UK.”

Some of the key findings of the latest survey are as follows: 28% of manufacturers reported total order books to be above normal, while 11% said they were below normal, giving a balance of +17% (joint highest with last month and August 1988); 28% of firms said their export order books were above normal, while 12% said they were below normal, giving a balance of +16%, well above the long-run average of -18%; 42% of businesses said the volume of output over the past three months was up, and 11% said it was down, giving a rounded balance of +30% — well above the long-run average of +4%.

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