UK Manufacturing Market Demand strengthens in manufacturing

Editor: Briggette Jaya

UK - According to CBI's latest survey, manufacturing companies in the UK have reported that both their total and export order books had strengthened to multi-decade highs in June, though output growth slowed.

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Pricing pressures remain strong, with manufacturers continuing to expect a sharp rise in average selling prices.
Pricing pressures remain strong, with manufacturers continuing to expect a sharp rise in average selling prices.
(Source: Pixabay)

The Industrial Trends Survey by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), conducted between 25 May and 14 June with 464 manufacturers, note that their total order books climbed to the highest level since August 1988. This was underpinned by a broad-based improvement in 13 of the 17 sub-sectors, led by the food, drink and tobacco, and the chemicals sectors. Export orders also improved to a 22-year high, hitting similar peaks like those seen in 2011 and 2013.

Output growth eased to the levels seen at the start of the year, on the back of slowdowns in the chemicals and mechanical engineering sectors, but remained robust historically. Companies expect a firm rise in production over the coming quarter, it was reported.

But pricing pressures remain strong, with manufacturers continuing to expect a sharp rise in average selling prices, in line with the level seen last month. Stock adequacy dipped marginally, remaining below average.

“Britain’s manufacturers are continuing to see demand for “Made in Britain” goods rise with the temperature. To build the right future for Britain’s economy, manufacturers and workers, the Government must put the economy first as it negotiates the country’s departure from the EU. This approach will deliver a deal that supports growth and raises living standards across the UK,” Rain Newton-Smith, CBi chief economist said.

Key findings in the report:

  • 27% of manufacturers reported total order books to be above normal, while 12% said they were below normal, giving a rounded balance of +16%. This was the highest level seen in nearly three decades, since August 1988 (+17%)
  • 23% of firms said their export order books were above normal, while 10% said they were below normal, giving a balance of +13%. This was the highest balance since June 1995 (+20%)
  • 30% of businesses said the volume of output over the past three months was up, while 15% said it was down, giving a balance of +15%, which is a decline from the balance of +28% seen in May
  • Manufacturers expect output to grow at the same robust pace in the coming quarter, with 37% predicting growth, and 9% a decline, giving a rounded balance of +27%
  • Average selling prices are still expected to rise in line with the level seen in May (+23%), having eased from their peak in February (+32%)
  • 13% of firms said their present stocks of finished goods are more than adequate, whilst 11% said they were less adequate, giving a balance of +2%, remaining below the average (+13%)

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