UK manufacturing expected to improve: survey

British manufacturers are expecting an improved outlook in 2014 which should lead to growth in exports to emerging markets and a turnaround in investment, according to a new survey.

The survey of 200 senior executives by the U.K. manufacturers’ organization EEF and Aldermore Bank found that growth was expected in all markets and at manufacturing firms of all sizes in the UK.

It found that the relentless pursuit of growth opportunities in new markets, sectors and technologies looks set to be more focused for firms in 2014, but they are far from certain that risks to growth won’t return this year.

The survey shows that the efforts necessary to remain competitive and grow in an uncertain world will continue in the year ahead.

Topping the list of strategies for manufacturers in the year ahead are actions to improve productivity, greater supply chain collaboration, strong communication with employees and increased overseas marketing efforts. All of which will support growth plans and help to mitigate any emerging risks.

The findings of the survey come as the Markit/CIPS Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) eased to 57.3 last month from November’s three-year high of 58.1. (Values greater than 50 indicate expansion in the sector).

As The Guardian reports, the EEF has forecast that the British manufacturing sector will grow by 2.7% this year.

This figure compares well with other Western European countries. For example, German manufacturing is expected to grow by 1.6%, while French manufacturing is expected to grow by only 0.7%. Meanwhile, the Austrian and Belgian manufacturing sectors are both expected to increase by 2.4%.