Manufacturers buoyant despite downturn

Healthy overseas demand helped manufacturers fill their order books last month and kept the sector growing despite the wider economic slowdown, the CBI said today.

However, the business lobby group's March Industrial Trends Survey also showed that an increasing proportion of firms expect to put up prices soon, which will add to inflationary pressure in the economy.

Ian McCafferty, the CBI's chief economic adviser, said: "Manufacturing is not only holding up as the wider economy slows but growing on the back of strong exports.

"With the prospects for the domestic market uncertain, it is important that firms can continue to attract overseas business which a competitive pound will help enormously."

A separate study of 400 manufacturing managers by consultancy Russam GMS has found that 27 per cent believe the UK engineering sector will see strong growth this year.

It also found that the main challenges facing managers in UK manufacturing are skills shortages, tight profit margins and the threat of low-cost offshore manufacturing.

Image: overseas demand is keeping industry buoyant

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