CBI reports strongest manufacturing orders since 2011

UK manufacturing grew at its fastest rate in nearly three years for the three months up to January, according to the latest CBI quarterly Industrial Trends Survey.

The business organisation, which released its findings today, confirmed domestic orders rose, uncertainty about demand fell and investment intentions for the year ahead picked up.

In the survey of 367 manufacturers, it found growth in total order books and domestic orders was the most rapid since April 2011.

The growth of output also remained solid, albeit slightly lower than that recorded in November and December, while optimism amongst manufacturers for growth expectations the highest since April 2012.

The CBI’s director of economics Stephen Gifford said the recovery in the manufacturing sector is continuing to build and confidence has improved.

“Growth in the volume of total new orders has reached its highest rate since April 2011, and this is encouraging,” he said.

“However, now is not the time to relax and take our foot off the gas. There are still risks ahead and our manufacturers need help to break into high-growth export markets.”

One of the potential obstacles is the order book falling in January to -2 from 12 in December. with the expected level for January 10 percent.

The dip in orders in January is a reminder to the manufacturing sector that a strong 2014 is not a foregone conclusion, according to IHS Global Insight’s chief UK economist Howard Archer.

“Improving global growth is seen helping UK manufacturers’ export orders during 2014, although the upside for export orders may well be constrained by only gradually improving domestic demand in the Eurozone,” he said.