Manufacturing order books close to a 30-year high

Categories: News|319 words|1.6 min read|By |Published On: January 8th, 2018|

Manufacturing in Britain has remained close to a 30-year high in Q4, according to the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) industrial trends survey.

The survey completed by 371 manufacturers saw a surge in order book levels due to a strong demand in the motor vehicles, transport equipment and mechanical engineering sectors. As a result, total order books in the three months to December are at the same pace as the highest rate since August 1988.

Many manufacturers pleasantly saw an “above normal” order book rate and output growth at a level far above the long-run average.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) confirmed last month that gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 0.4% in the final reading for July to September in 2017, rising from 0.3% in the first and second quarters.

Anna Leach, the CBI’s Head of Economic Intelligence, said: “As we head towards the end of 2017, UK manufacturers’ total order books remain at a near-30 (year) high, with export order books remaining at their strongest since the mid-1990s.

“While the lower level of sterling continues to support exporters, cost pressures remain intense.

“Businesses will expect to see the Government’s Industrial Strategy make rapid progress next year to support manufacturing and the wider economy in every corner of the UK.”

Key findings:

  • 28% of manufacturers reported total order books to be above normal, and 11% said they were below normal, giving a balance of +17% (joint highest with last month and August 1988)
  • 28% of firms said their export order books were above normal, and 12% said they were below normal, giving a balance of +16% well above the long-run average of -18%
  • 42% of businesses said the volume of output over the past three months was up, and 11% said it was down, giving a rounded balance of +30% above the long-run average of +4%
  • 7% of firms said their present stocks of finished goods are more than adequate, whilst 10% said they were less than adequate, giving a balance of -3%.