Robust demand in UK improves sales for smaller manufacturers

Survey data have revealed that smaller manufacturers are seeing growth despite weak export demand. Of the 437 SME manufacturers surveyed by the CBI, 26% are more optimistic than three months ago. This compares to the 13% of firms who reported less optimism. Moreover, output volumes are getting stronger, with 32% of firms seeing a rise in output compared to the 19% who saw a decline. The news comes despite 21% of SME manufacturers experiencing weaker export orders – more than the 18% who saw gains. Domestic demand was strong with 35% of firms reporting more domestic orders than three months ago compared to 20% who said they were down. Rain Newton-Smith, CBI director of economics, said: 'Smaller manufacturers are continuing along a steady growth path, with domestic orders and output both rising at a healthy pace. The sharp fall in the oil price should also help, pushing down the cost of production and raw materials for firms. But stagnant export orders are dragging on the sector's performance, mainly because of the sluggish recovery and growing uncertainty in the Eurozone.'


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