Overseas demand boosts UK manufacturers

UK manufacturers kept up their rapid pull out of recession in May as overseas demand boosted orders, an industry survey said today.

The Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply's (CIPS) latest activity index - where a reading over 50 indicates growth - hit 58 for the second month in a row, the strongest since September 1994.

The industry has now grown for eight successive months, with export orders at near-record levels as the weak pound helped firms win business in China, Europe, the US and the Middle East.

CIPS said the sector's recovery had "taken everyone by surprise" but warned that manufacturers were still vulnerable amid recent turmoil in Europe due to fears over debt defaults and austerity measures impacting growth.

Chief executive David Noble said: "Given the euro countries are Britain's biggest trading partners, any double-dip recession there would undoubtedly damage the UK manufacturing sector."

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