CBI: Manufacturing firms see an export-led recovery in output

FOLLOWING months of gloom, prospects for the manufacturing sector appear to be looking brighter and the decline in output has eased considerably, the Confederation for Business Industry (CBI) said yesterday.<br /><br />The latest quarterly Industrial Trends survey showed that sterling weakness is helping firms&rsquo; competitiveness on the global stage. Manufacturers&rsquo; sentiment about export prospects rose to 16 per cent, the index&rsquo;s highest reading since July 1995.<br /><br />Factory output continued to fall&nbsp; but the net balance of firms reporting falling output fell to eight per cent compared to 31 per cent in July.<br /><br />But while the overall picture was optimistic, the sector is still weak and at risk of relapse due to the poor availability of credit.