Strong growth for UK manufacturing

Manufacturers performing well in the UK

Manufacturers in the UK have sustained robust growth over the last three months and are increasingly optimistic about the future, research has shown.

A survey of the sector, published today by manufacturers’ organisation the EEF and financial advisers Grant Thornton, has shown that conditions for manufacturing have remained strong across all regions and industries over the last quarter.

In fact, the survey showed the highest output and order balances since the first quarter of 1995, as well as revealing a significant increase in investment intentions and a rise in the number of companies planning to recruit.

EEF chief economist, Steve Radley, commented: “Manufacturers are now enjoying a sustained period of growth and reaping the rewards of increasing their investment in skills and innovation.

“Long gone are the days when a strong currency and increases in interest rates would have stopped companies in their tracks.”

However, the EEF warned that while export orders did increase, this rise was not nearly as sharp as the increase in domestic orders, which could be a possible effect of the US economy slowing down.

Radley added: “Despite the UK economy providing a welcome boost, the current turbulence in the financial markets and a more significant slowdown in the US could weaken the outlook.”

On the whole though, manufacturers remain optimistic about the rest of the year, said Bob Hale, head of Grant Thornton’s Manufacturing and Technology Group.

He added: “The growing focus on high quality, value added products across the spectrum of UK manufacturing is continuing to pay dividends, with manufacturers becoming increasingly successful at developing niche areas. This is reflected in the resilience and optimism of the sector despite the challenge of rising interest rates.”

© Crimson Business Ltd. 2007

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