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Manufacturing output growth now strongest since 1995: CBI

21 November 2013

Growth in the UK manufacturing sector was the strongest for 18 years according to the findings of latest CBI Industrial Trends Survey.

Stephen Gifford

Both the size of total order books and the pace of output growth over the past three months were the highest recorded since 1995, showing the recovery in UK manufacturing is accelerating.  

The survey of nearly 350 manufacturers found that total order books relative to normal levels were their strongest since March 1995. Export order books were also very firmly above average.

Output volumes over the three months to November rose at their fastest rate since January 1995, with all but one sector (electrical engineering) reporting growth.

Manufacturers expect output growth to continue at a robust pace over the coming three months.

The CBI's director of economics, Stephen Gifford (pictured), says the new evidence shows encouraging signs of a broadening and deepening recovery in the manufacturing sector.

"Manufacturers finally seem to be feeling the benefit of growing confidence and spending within the UK and globally, he adds. “Both order books and the pace of output growth are the strongest they’ve been since 1995, and firms are expecting similar-paced growth over the coming three months as well. But challenges remain. UK exporters need government support to break into high-growth export markets to reduce their vulnerability to any further Eurozone flare-ups."

Key findings:
- 36 percent of firms reported that total order books were above normal in November and 25 percent said they were below, giving a balance of +11 percent, the highest balance since March 1995 (+11 percent)
- 28 percent reported that export order books were above normal in November and 27 percent that they were below, giving a balance of +1 percent, well above the long-run average of -20 percent
- The volume of output in the three months to November rose at its fastest rate since January 1995 (+29 percent balance)
- Firms expect output growth to continue at a similar pace in the next three months: 44 percent expect to raise output and 20 percent expect to reduce output, giving a balance of +24 percent
- Stock adequacy of finished goods was below average (+7 percent) for the third consecutive month, while expected price growth rose from October’s fifteen-month low to +5 percent.


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