Exports of UK made goods are increasing but overall demand remains weak, the Confederation of British Industry has found.
In the CBI’s latest monthly Industrial Trends Survey 22 per cent said exports were up on normal levels and 40 per cent said they were down. The resultant balance of -18 per cent is the most positive finding since August 2008.
But 51 per cent said total orders are down and only 14 per cent said they are up. The balance of -37 per cent is consistent with the last few months indicating little upturn in manufacturers’ fortunes since the country officially came out of recession.
Thus, production is likely to remain at around its current levels over the next three months, 25 per cent expecting a rise and 20 per cent expecting a fall, giving an overall balance of only +5 per cent.
“Our survey shows that UK exports orders are steadily improving as global demand is starting to recover,” said Ian McCafferty, the CBI’s chief economic adviser.
“Home-grown demand remains very weak, however, and as a result we can expect manufacturing output to grow only modestly for some time.
He said manufacturers are likely to raise their prices in coming months as they “try to preserve their battered profit margins.”
The CBI’s findings were based on the responses of 499 UK manufacturers.