UK manufacturing has suffered a drop in output over the past year, and many companies have blamed the high value of the pound relative to the euro.
But not every country within the euro-zone has been doing well – according to July’s European Commission survey of manufacturing, order books are weaker in Germany than in the UK. Output expectations are similar, with a balance of -2% between optimists and pessimists in the UK compared with -3% in the Germany.
Other EU countries are more positive, however, with output expectations at +20% in Italy and +13% in France. The UK also lags the rest of Europe on export orders and has a larger stockpile of finished stocks than any other major European economy.
* Increasing demand for process automation is expected to boost the European market for process control valves and actuators from $2.9bn (£1.8bn) in 1998 to $3.2bn (£2bn) in 2005. A new study by market research firm Frost & Sullivan says growth will be driven by expansion in the chemical, pharmaceutical, petrochemical and power generation industries. Suppliers are expected to cut prices and develop new products in the face of fierce competition, the study says.
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