Confidence Index indicates upturn

The latest Santander Corporate Banking Business Confidence Index shows that manufacturing firms are confident of an upturn in business by the end of 2009.

Most manufacturers saw a drop in the first half of this year, but a large majority still believe business will pick up before the end of 2009.

That was the conclusion from Santander Corporate Banking Business Confidence Index, which surveyed more than 1,000 UK businesses.

Its research showed 57 per cent of businesses in the manufacturing sector experiencing a drop in profits while 22 per cent experienced an increase in the first half of the year.

Yet 73 per cent of manufacturing firms are confident in the prospects of their own business during the remainder of 2009 compared to a national average of 75 per cent.

The survey shows that turnover is the factor most responsible for the level of general confidence among manufacturers, with one in four company owners citing this as the most important indicator for them. Turnover is closely followed by forward orders (25 per cent) and profitability (23 per cent) as the most crucial indicators.

Steve Pateman, head of Santander Corporate Banking, said: ‘Our research indicates that the profitability of the manufacturing sector has been hit hard. However, despite the majority of organisations experiencing a tough time during the current economic downturn, there are encouraging signs that many of them might now be turning a corner.’