Export order books improve markedly

Export order books improve markedly

Exports by British manufacturers hit a three-year high last month, according to the latest Industrial Trends Survey compiled by the CBI.

The latest Industrial Trends Survey has found that export order books last month were the highest since December 2013, driven by a broad-based strengthening of which half was accounted for by the pharmaceutical and mechanical engineering sectors.

The survey of 423 firms also shows that expectations for growth are at a more than two-decade high and that total order books also remained firm in March, after strengthening to a two-year high in February.

Output growth also rose at its quickest pace since July 2014 in the three months to March, with manufacturers anticipating that it will accelerate further over the near-term. Meanwhile, firms’ expectations for selling price inflation remain elevated for the quarter ahead.

Anna Leach, CBI’s head of economic intelligence, said: “It’s been a strong month for UK manufacturers, with production growing robustly and overseas demand on the up.

“The past fall in the pound seems finally to be helping lift demand for UK manufactured exports, which rose at one of the fastest paces in this survey’s history.

“And manufacturers are positive about the quarter ahead, expecting output to grow at the fastest rate since February 1995.”