The latest CBI SME Trends Survey shows that small and medium-sized manufacturers’ domestic orders increased for the sixth quarter running, while export orders were broadly flat, disappointing expectations of a modest rise.Domestic orders and output are, however, both expected to grow again next quarter at a slightly stronger pace. “Smaller manufacturers are continuing along a steady growth path, with domestic orders and output both rising at a healthy pace. The sharp fall in the oil price should also help, pushing down the cost of production and raw materials for firms,” says Rain Newton-Smith, CBI director of economics. Key findings for the three months to January:
- 26 per cent of small & medium sized enterprise (SME) manufacturers said they were more optimistic than three months ago, while 13 per cent said they were less optimistic, giving a rounded balance of +14 per cent, up from +9 per cent last quarter
- 32 per cent said their volume of output was up, and 19 per cent said it was down, giving a rounded balance of 12 per cent, which compares with +9 per cent in the previous quarter
- 35 per cent said their domestic orders were up, while 20 per cent said they were down, a balance of +15 per cent
- 18 per cent said export orders rose over the past three months, 21 per cent said they fell, leaving a balance of -3 per cent, compared with -13 per cent last quarter.
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