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UK Manufacturers: Rising Confidence?

UK manufacturers are starting to demonstrate a bit of new found confidence moving forwards into 2013. Though manufacturing orders were flat in the three months to January, output was stable for the second quarter in a row and both orders and output are now expected to rise moderately over the next quarter. As the employment and investment picture continues to look relatively positive, this is starting to rub off on many UK manufacturers.

According to the latest quarterly CBI Industrial Trends Survey, 25% of the 389 manufacturers interviewed said that total new orders had risen; however, 28% reported orders had fallen, making it a mixed picture at best. The rate of decline in orders was, however, slower than the previous quarter at -13%.

Within total orders, exports orders fell for the third consecutive quarter (-13% compared with -17% last quarter) which bucked the expectations that they would stablise. However, it is expected that growth will resume in terms of export orders in the coming three months, underpinning a hopeful growth in total orders of +14%.

The CBI Head of Economic Analysis, Anna Leach, commented; “While domestic demand and business optimism have steadied, export demand remains a concern for manufacturers, with orders continuing to fall, albeit at a slower rate… There are encouraging signs of stability in overall demand, however, with domestic orders, export orders and production expected to rise in the quarter ahead.”

This will hopefully transfer into a growing business confidence, although optimism regarding the general business situation for the UK remains unchanged, with firms still concerned about the economic prospects of the coming year.

Manufacturing is one sector that can get a boost from invoice finance, especially in the face of struggling order books. By releasing the cash tied up in unpaid orders, it’s possible to increase cash flow and working capital making day to day survival that little bit easier.

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