CBI detects optimism for UK industry in 2011

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The Independent Online

Further evidence of a recovery in manufacturing arrives today with the release of the CBI's latest Industrial Trends Survey. Manufacturers expect production to rise "solidly" in the next three months on the back of strengthening demand at home and abroad, the CBI says.

Almost a third of manufacturers are predicting a rise in output in the coming quarter, with 19 per cent foreseeing a fall. That net positive balance of 13 per cent represents a marked improvement on November's rating of plus 4 per cent. It follows bullish figures on industrial output released by the Office for National Statistics earlier this week, and upbeat survey data from the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply. It suggests that the UK economy is indeed "rebalancing" towards manufacturing and exports.

Ian McCafferty, the CBI's chief economic adviser, commented: "With total order books getting back to normal levels and overseas demand particularly strong, the outlook is encouraging. The past sharp depreciation of sterling should continue to underpin demand for UK exports into 2011.

"However, with oil and other commodity prices rising, cost pressures will remain a concern," he added.

Of the CBI's respondents, some 25 per cent reported export order books to be above normal, and 21 per cent below, giving a balance of plus 4 per cent – the strongest balance since August 1995.

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