Calls for caution as ONS publishes growth figures

Posted on 13 May 2011 by The Manufacturer

Manufacturing output showed relatively good growth this year, but a lack of investment and rising input prices are starting to damage profits.

Those sub-sectors that experienced a growth in output over the past year included the transport equipment industries which increased by 9.6 per cent, the food, drink and tobacco industries which increased by 5.3 per cent and the machinery and equipment industries which increased by 7.7 per cent.

In the period from March to February, manufacturing output rose by 0.2 per cent. Output increased in seven of the 13 sub-sectors and fell in six sub-sectors. The largest contributions were the other manufacturing industries which increased by 4.4 per cent, the paper, printing and publishing industries which increased by 1.4 per cent and the food, drink and tobacco industries which increased by 1.0 per cent. The largest negative contribution was a decrease of 1.4 per cent in the electrical and optical equipment industries.

Mark Lee, Head of Manufacturing, Barclays Corporate said: “With UK exports to non-EU countries languishing, British manufacturing is now at risk of backsliding on the real gains the industry has made over the last 18 months. It has never been more important for trade bodies, banks, businesses and Government to push for far more UK products to be sold in the developing world. This has to be an absolute priority for the recovery to remain on track.”

He added: “Investment levels in the sector remain below where we would expect them to be at this stage in the recovery and manufacturers remain cautious in the face of, in some cases, crippling input prices. However, we are seeing many good news stories emerging in the areas we do well as a nation, such as food and drink production and defence.”