According to the CBI’s latest industrial trends survey, manufacturing firms are more upbeat about growth prospects in the coming quarter than at any time since 1995. A third of the 398 companies surveyed “expect to raise output” in the next three months – the highest reading for the optimism index for 18 years.The surge in confidence among manufacturers is down to a sharp increase in orders: 28 per cent of manufacturers reported total order books above normal in September compared to 19 per cent which said they were below. The positive balance of nine per cent was the highest since August 2007. “This month’s results show the manufacturing recovery continuing to gather pace,” comments Stephen Gifford, director of economics at the CBI. “Order books are the fullest they’ve been since the start of the financial crisis, and firms are ramping up production to meet demand.” A handful of Britain’s most innovative UK manufacturers will be heading to China next week as part of a Technology Strategy Board trade mission to explore green business opportunities. The firms include Croft Filters, which has developed high-specification filter products using 3D printing, and Oxford NanoSystems, which develops heat transfer and corrosion resistance technologies that help to reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. Manufacturing currently accounts for a tenth of UK output.
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