Belfast Telegraph

Wheels of industry stuck in low gear but recovery lies on horizon

By Jamie Grierson

Uk manufacturers are more hopeful for future trade in the wake of increased demand at home and abroad for their goods, an industry survey showed.

The latest industrial trends survey from the CBI business lobby group showed 21% of manufacturers said total orders were above normal, while 34% said they were below. The resulting rounded balance of minus 14% represented the industry's best level since August 2008, the CBI added.

Optimism was also stronger, with a balance of 10% of firms saying they believed volume of output will rise in the next three months, up from 6% last month.

This upbeat view was spurred on by a return to more normal levels for export orders, which were up from a minus 12% slump in July to minus 1% in August.

CBI head of economic analysis Lai Wah Co said: "Prospects for the manufacturing sector remain very positive. Demand is steadily improving, helped by the revival of export orders. Our manufacturers expect slightly stronger production growth in the three months ahead.

"However, inflationary pressures within the sector have not fully faded and firms are predicting a faster rise in output prices over the next quarter."

Price pressures are ongoing within the sector with a balance of 11% of firms expecting to raise prices compared with 5% in the previous survey.