Activity in the UK manufacturing sector is picking up pace and is expected to gather momentum in the next three months, according to the latest data from the CBI.
February’s Industrial Trends Survey of 522 manufacturers found that total order books strengthened on already robust levels, climbing to a six month high.
“Our manufacturers have more of a spring in their step this month, regaining some of the momentum lost towards the end of last year,” explained Rain Newton-Smith, CBI Economics Director.
Export orders also picked up, regaining some of the ground lost towards the end of last year. However, they still lag behind more robust domestic orders and manufacturers are being encouraged to continue to seek export opportunities in new, high-growth markets outside of Europe.
Growth in output volumes rose in February, reaching their highest level for seven months. Manufacturers expect a modest rise in selling prices over the next three months, although expectations for price inflation remain moderate on the whole.
“The drop in oil prices is good news for the manufacturing sector in the UK, bringing with it lower operating costs, but North Sea producers are clearly suffering,” Newton-Smith continued.
“Export orders picked up significantly, to a level not seen for six months, but uncertainty over prospects in the Eurozone will continue to weigh on export demand. So, it’s imperative we continue to help manufacturers sell their products and services into high-growth markets around the globe.”