Factories give recovery a lift

Factories give recovery a lift

The CBI’s monthly industrial trends survey found a balance of 5pc of companies expected growth in output over the next quarter, driven by those in the motor and food, drink and tobacco sectors.

The survey also showed signs of a rebound in orders, although economists said the pace of the recovery remained sluggish. Of the 436 manufacturers polled, 15pc responded that total order books were above normal and 29pc said they were below. The balance of -14pc was six percentage points better than the January survey. Export order books also showed some improvement.

Anna Leach, CBI head of economic analysis, said: “The rebound in manufacturing orders and expectations for output growth provide some further signs of improvement. However, export order books are likely to remain relatively weak until global conditions, especially in the eurozone, improve more markedly.”

Manufacturing was a drag on the economy at the end of last year, shrinking 1.5pc, and contributing to the worse-than-expected 0.3pc decline in fourth quarter GDP.

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