Belfast Telegraph

Optimism among manufacturers rises

Optimism among UK manufacturers has risen at the fastest rate since April 2010 amid evidence that order books are starting to improve.

The CBI's quarterly industrial trends survey for the three months to October found that total new orders grew for the second consecutive quarter and output rose for the third consecutive quarter.

New export orders improved only slightly but optimism about overseas demand still picked up. Overall, the CBI said 32% of businesses were more optimistic about general business conditions than three months ago, while 8% were more pessimistic.

In the survey of more than 350 manufacturers, a balance of 6% of firms reported an increase in total orders, the highest figure since April 2012. The balance for new domestic orders of 10% was the best since April 2011.

The CBI's director of economics Stephen Gifford said: "The manufacturing sector has increasing confidence in the UK's recovery.

"But there are only limited signs of rebalancing towards exports or investment, with marginal growth in export orders and firms scaling back plans for capital expenditure on plant and machinery."

Despite this, plans for spending on training and retraining were the strongest since October 1997, the CBI added.

And firms seem untroubled by inflationary pressures, with both domestic and export output prices declining marginally.