Survey reveals steady growth in UK manufacturing sector

The UK manufacturing sector is showing resilience in the face of challenging economic conditions, with orders and output growth steady, the CBI said today.

Both measures of activity indicated modest growth in the three months to July, while manufacturers’ optimism about the general business situation was broadly stable relative to the previous three months (-6 per cent).

Of the 398 manufacturers responding to the latest CBI quarterly Industrial Trends Survey, 29 per cent reported that total orders had increased in the three months to July, while 26 per cent said that they had fallen. The resulting balance of +3 per cent is above the long-run average (-3 per cent), but a little below the +8 per cent balance in the three months to April.

Export orders weakened slightly (-6 per cent), but the balance was broadly in line with its long-run average (-8 per cent). Total orders are expected to grow at a similar pace over the next three months (+4 per cent), with export orders expected to be flat.

Output growth picked up slightly in the quarter to July, with 29 per cent of manufacturers reporting output volumes were up compared with the previous three months and 21 per cent saying they were down.

The resulting balance of +8 per cent is the strongest seen this year and above the long-run average (0 per cent). A further modest pick-up in growth is expected over the next three months (+11 per cent).