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Exports cheer for UK manufacturers

British manufacturers are more confident about long-term export sales than at any time over the past three years, according to a Gallup survey of 1,041 firms for the DHL quarterly export indicator, writes John Eisenhammer.

But with two-thirds of firms saying they are working at, or close to, full capacity, concern is growing about ability to meet an increase in sales in 1995.

More than a quarter of the companies surveyed spoke of shedding export business as domestic market growth resumes. The survey showed that 73 per cent of respondents had good or excellent expectations for export orders over the next 12 months.

Alongside manufacturing capacity, firms cited the cost of raw materials as the external factor most expected to affect their future export performance.

More than half expressed scepticism about the likelihood of the Treasury's forecast of an 11 per cent rise in business investment in 1995 being met.