The UK’s manufacturers have seen an improvement in total and export orders in December, but still expect their output to contract mildly over the coming three months. That’s according to the latest CBI Industrial Trends Survey.
The survey of 473 manufacturers saw the strongest total orders for three months and exports performed better when compared with recent months – with 14 out of 18 sub-sectors improving – but exports remained a drag on overall orders.
Manufacturing output edged down a little with the expectation of a further small fall over the coming quarter. Average prices are expected to remain flat over the next quarter.
Rain Newton-Smith, CBI director of economics, said: “Manufacturers are still having a tough time of it with output slipping and exports remaining a weak spot in spite of an improvement at the end of the year.
“But there is a pick-up in orders from previous months which could be a sign of light at the end of the tunnel.
“The UK’s export performance has lagged for too long now and that’s why business wants to see an independent Exports Commission bringing together politicians and exporters to make some genuine progress on turning the situation around.”