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Smaller manufacturers see fastest rate of growth in 16 years

 

Domestic and export orders amongst the UK’s small and medium-sized manufacturers have grown at their fastest rate in 16 years, new figures suggest.

 

According to the latest quarterly SME Trends Survey from the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), strong demand at home and abroad, coupled with stock rebuilding, has helped push up output amongst smaller firms.

 

A balance of +18% of firms said production rose in the three months to April, compared with +13% in the previous quarter. It means that demand has been growing at the fastest rate since April 1995.

 

Of the 414 respondents, 39% reported a rise in the volume of domestic orders and 23% a fall, giving a balance of +16%. For export orders, 37% said volumes increased, and 14% said they declined, giving a balance of +23%.

 

Meanwhile, a balance of +16% of firms increased their headcount, the fastest rate since January 1995 (+17%).

 

Lucy Armstrong, Chair of the CBI’s SME Council, said: ‘Smaller manufacturers are enjoying strong demand for goods at home and abroad, underpinning robust growth in production.

 

‘However, inflationary pressures remain a dark cloud, with rising oil and commodity prices pushing up the cost of production and eating into profit margins. Manufacturers have raised output prices rapidly to cope, and expect to continue doing so over the next quarter.’