UK manufacturers can cope with the strong pound and expect to increase their exports, according to a survey by business analyst Dun & Bradstreet.
It found that two thirds of manufacturers forecast a rise in sales and 53% a rise in exports over the next quarter.
According to D&B analyst Philip Mellor, firms are learning to live with the strength of sterling. `They are obviously making productivity gains to offset the unfavourable exchange rate,’ he said.
Another survey found manufacturing exports contracting at a slower rate than at any time over the past 18 months. But the British Chambers of Commerce survey also found 57% of manufacturers were still worried about the strength of sterling.
BCC deputy director-general Ian Peters said: `The exchange rate remains a major concern with exporters still struggling to recover lost ground overseas.’
There was better news at home for manufacturers, with BCC members reporting UK sales up for the first time in a year. Employment expectations also rose. Companies that have shed jobs in the past three months now expect to take on more staff.