UK manufacturing holding its own

THE UK's manufacturing sector is holding up with export orders remaining particularly healthy, according to a recent study.

THE UK’s manufacturing sector is holding up with export orders remaining particularly healthy, according to a recent study.

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) industrial trends quarterly survey showed that despite general concerns over the sector’s global economic slowdown, the growth in firms’ orders continued.

Rise in total new Manufacturing demand kept growing with 28 per cent of firms stating that total new orders increased in the three months (to January) with around 17 per cent reporting a decrease.

Monthly statistics also showed total order book levels being ‘healthy’.

Businesses said the levels were above normal in January – the same level as in April 2007 – and the highest figure in a quarterly survey since April 1995.

Demand for the quarter was for the most part driven by export orders, which was “helped by the weaker pound” – although much of the currency’s depreciation occurred after this survey was conducted.

Commenting on the findings, Ian McCafferty, CBI Chief Economic Adviser, said: “Manufacturers share similar concerns to other sectors about the economy – a fear that rising costs might become combined with slowing demand.

“Thankfully, the expected wobble in demand didn’t materialise in the last three months and orders for British-made goods have held up, particularly from abroad.”

Although some of the pessimistic expectations for the last quarter did not materialise, trends suggests that rising food and energy costs show no sign of declining.

Firms are also expecting both their domestic prices and export prices to rise.

The CBI Industrial Trends Survey was conducted between 13 December 2007 and 9 January 2008 with more than 480 manufacturing firms taking part.

For more information about the survey click here.