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'Buoyant demand from Europe' helps manufacturing surge

Manufacturing firms are enjoying a surge in performance amid "buoyant" demand from Europe, a study shows.

The EEF said companies were increasingly confident about prospects for the rest of the year, defying predictions about the impact of Brexit and the snap General Election.

A survey of almost 400 firms by the manufacturers' organisation and business advisory firm BDO LLP found that three out of five reported an increase in demand for goods from European markets.

Recruitment intentions were "strong" and orders were healthy, said the EEF, which has revised its forecasts upwards for the rest of the year and 2018, saying manufacturing was now expected to expand by 1.3% in 2017 and 0.5% next year.

EEF chief economist Lee Hopley said: "Our survey marks another quarter of positive news about growth prospects for UK manufacturers.

"Industry is reporting that output and orders have continued to head higher in recent months and the recovery in manufacturing globally is a big part of the story.

"It's very encouraging that UK manufacturers have positioned themselves to capitalise on the windfall of a competitive pound and resurgent world economy.

"While growth and confidence hasn't been knocked off track by the snap election, it is not plain sailing from here.

"There is the continuing challenge of managing input cost increases, ensuring success in attracting and retaining the skills that are in increasing demand and driving up investment in the sector.

"Whoever forms the next Government must set in stone as a matter of urgency a bold industrial strategy that will help cement the foundations for long-term growth for industry."

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