Firms are being urged to take advantage of strong overseas sales by identifying markets to export to, as official figures from the Office for National Statistics have confirmed the fall in output for the manufacturing industry over the last few months reported recently by the major private surveys.
Overall manufacturing output was down by 0.8 per cent last quarter compared with January to March. The biggest contributors to the drop was food, drink and tobacco, which fell 1.6 per cent, and ‘other manufacturing industries not elsewhere specified’, which was down 4.4 per cent
Nigel Bailey, Relationship Director for the Manufacturing Sector at Barclays Commercial Bank said that the figures reflect the suffering domestic market where less expendable cash is available for the luxury commodities produced and sold here, with commodity costs going up instead of down in response due to relentlessly rising input prices.
“However, those manufacturers with sales outside of the UK are still finding it possible to take advantage of a weak pound, and export order books,” said Mr Bailey, “particularly those engaged in the oil and gas industry are reported to be strong. UK Manufacturers with access to export markets are finding it easier to protect their volumes and margins than those who depend solely on the domestic market.”
Ross Walker of Royal Bank of Scotland, speaking before his keynote appearance at The Manufacturer Live 2008 in October, said that official statistics were not always a truly accurate indicator of the current state of the industry. The chief economist will deliver a lecture at Live which will give delegates “a more accurate sense of the mood” of manufacturing and the UK economy, using “anecdotal information to either corroborate or challenge existing views about how things stand”.
The Manufacturer Live 2008 takes place on the 15th and 16th of October at the Excel Centre, London. For more information, including the conference programme and speaker details, visit www.themanufacturer.com/live or contact Jane Larcombe.