A survey compiled by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has revealed that manufacturing output has picked up pace as order books improved in April and output growth accelerated in the three months to May.
According to the Industrial Trends Survey, around 28% of businesses said that their volume of output over the past three months had increased. Mechanical engineering and chemical sectors had witnessed particularly sharp output growth. This is the fastest pace of growth since December 2013 when manufacturing output volume increase was registered at 29%. The survey's respondents also expect production to increase in the subsequent quarter.
The study further revealed that export orders maintained their strong momentum since March. Around 10% of the firms surveyed said that their export order books were above normal for April, surging to the highest value since 11% in December 2013.
Moreover, 28% of manufacturers expect the "robust pace" to continue with further export order growth in the coming quarter.
"The summer sun has come out early for Britain's manufacturers", Rain Newton-Smith, CBI chief economist, said.
"Robust demand at both home and abroad is reflected in strong order books, and output is picking up the pace."
Newton-Smith also noted two risks, which are still prominent in the manufacturing sector – an upward pressure on costs and expectations for increases in factory-gate prices.
"Boosting productivity is key to alleviating some of the cost pressures that manufacturers are facing. Sustained investment in innovation and education will be vital to shore up the success of British industry", he further added.
The CBI's latest Industrial Trends Survey covered 432 manufacturers.