Manufacturing output rises again to hit 30-year high on UK order books

Alys Key
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Exports of vehicles contributed to the rise (Source: Getty)

Manufacturing order books have filled up to the strongest level for nearly 30 years.

Total orders in the three months to November were the strongest since August 1988, according to the CBI.

Meanwhile export order books were at the joint highest for more than 20 years.

Anna Leach, the CBI’s head of economic intelligence, said: “UK manufacturers are once more performing strongly as global growth and the lower level of sterling continue to support demand.”

Overall sentiment among manufacturers meant that forecasts now predict output will continue expanding in the three months to February, but at a more moderate pace.

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Leach added that “uncertainty continues to hold back investment and cost pressures remain strong. Manufacturers will be hoping the Budget brings some relief from the business rates burden in particular.”

Food & drink accounted for some of the most notable improvement in order books, as did chemicals. Exports of electronics and transport goods also rose.

Around one in five companies expect prices to increase in the coming three months, with only two per cent anticipating a decline. This was above the long-run average, but matched the level of expectation of price inflation from the previous quarter.

But stock levels of finished goods fell below the average long-run rate, with only 12 per cent saying they had more than adequate stock.

Read more: Fuel to the fire: UK manufacturing increased more than expected last month

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