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Manufacturers turn to emerging markets for growth

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British manufacturers are looking past the economic gloom and are focusing on generating continued growth in their own business through 2012, the latest data from manufacturing industry organisation EEF shows.

The most interesting aspect of the latest EEF report is that British manufacturers are “hunting out” new markets globally, in order to find new growth opportunities.

The results of the survey show that executives are confident about their performance in export markets. Over four-fifths expect sales to be the same or greater in 2012 compared with last year.

“Most manufacturers continue to grasp the opportunities in untapped markets for services and in faster growing emerging markets,” comments EEF chief economist Lee Hopley. “Together with the diversification of supply chains, these factors are underpinning some confidence at firm level that sales will end 2012 higher.”

In terms of where manufacturers will turn, the EEF forecasts “robust rates of growth in China, India and the rest of emerging Asia”.

Yet overall, the outlook for Britain’s manufacturing economy is mixed. Manufacturers are particularly said to be worried about the unresolved eurozone crisis and its potential negative impact on access to finance, as well as the ability of other markets to shake off the effects of recession. Indeed, while 21 per cent of executives expect conditions in the UK economy to improve in 2012, 49 per cent believe conditions will worsen.

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