Manufacturers slash growth forecast in half

Ben Southwood
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THE UK manufacturing sector will grow less than half as fast as previously hoped during 2013, according to figures released this morning.

Manufacturers will produce just 0.7 per cent more next year than in 2012, industry organisation EEF predicted today, down from earlier forecasts of 1.5 per cent growth.

However, on a more positive note some 30 per cent of firms said they expected overall conditions to improve, versus 23 per cent who expected the economic climate to worsen yet further. And EEF boss Terry Scuoler put a positive sheen on the outlook for the coming year, saying he believed factory firms could boost exports and add more value despite global difficulties.

“The past year has been a challenging one for manufacturers, but as they look to 2013 there is still the potential for growth in their businesses,” Scuoler claimed.

“The increases in investment in innovation in recent years will bear fruit as companies see opportunities from new product development and the commercialisation of new technology.”

But firms were still worried about a slowdown in the world economy, with around two thirds of companies citing that as the biggest risk to growth, up from just 10 per cent last year.