Manufacturing growth pushes on despite gloomy global outlook

The output of manufacturing SMEs grew during the three months to December, despite the recent doom and gloom concerning the global economy. 

According to the CBI’s latest SME Trends Survey, the demand for goods made by 406 manufacturers surveyed was stronger at home than abroad.   The increased strength from domestic markets, which rose for the fifth quarter in a row in the three months to October, offset a drop in export orders.

Foreign exports have struggled recently, with global anxiety rising against the backdrop of previously unassailable strong economies such as German and Japan reporting little growth, and the looming presence of international crises affecting EU markets.

However, firms expect export orders to begin to stabilise over the next three months.

Meanwhile, the number of manufacturing jobs created rose, and employment numbers rose for the third consecutive quarter.

Rain Newton-Smith, CBI director of economics, said: “It’s reassuring to see smaller manufacturers sharing in the continuing recovery, with optimism, output and jobs all rising over the last three months.  Sales in the strengthening UK market are looking good but firms are finding exports orders much harder to secure.

“International political instability and weak growth in the Eurozone is holding back overseas demand.

“But, sentiment is still improving and firms expert overall orders and output to expand at a healthier pace over the next three months.”

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