UK manufacturers report improvement in orders

UK manufacturers have reported an encouraging improvement in total and export order books in February, following a much weaker period over late 2011, the CBI said today.

As a result, firms expect solid output growth over the coming three months, according to the CBI’s most recent monthly Industrial Trends Survey.

Of the 471 manufacturers responding to the survey, 21 per cent reported total order books to be above normal, while 23 per cent said they were below. The resulting rounded balance of -3 per cent is well above the long-run average (-18 per cent) and a significant improvement in the levels of recent months.

Export orders also saw a similar upturn, with 22 per cent of respondents stating that levels were above normal and 24 per cent saying they were below, giving a balance of -2 per cent, compared to the long-run average of -21 per cent.

As a result of the improvement in orders, for the second month running UK manufacturers expect production to rise over the next three months, with a balance of +15 per cent expecting an increase in their volume of output.