UK manufacturing recovery gathers pace

CBI figures show order books are full and firms are ‘ramping up production to meet demand’

Manufacturing order books are at their fullest since the start of the financial crisis while car production has also leapt ahead, according to the latest figures from CBI.

Latest CBI figures show that 28% of firms reported total order books above normal in September, and that 19% said they were below.

The positive balance of 9% was the highest since August 2007. This included a 6% positive balance for export orders, reversing a negative in figures recorded for last month.

The Industrial Trends Survey of 398 companies also found output growth rose again, to a balance of 18%, the highest level since August 2011.

A positive balance of 33% of firms expected to raise output over the next three months.

Stephen Gifford, CBI director of economics, said: “This month’s results show the manufacturing recovery continues to gather pace.

“Order books are the fullest they’ve been since the start of the financial crisis, and firms are ramping up production to meet demand.

“Firms are more upbeat about growth prospects in the coming quarter than at any time since 1995.”

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said UK manufacturers built 91,282 cars in August, up 16.2%, or 12,705, on the same period in 2012, leaving year-to-date volumes 3.1% ahead of 2012, at 984,545.

The figures show that 20,298 cars were made for the home market this year, up 21.1%, while 70,984 were for export, up 14.8%.

SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said: “The past 12-months has been one of the most productive since late 2008.”

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