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CBI finds strong growth in manufacturing sector

According to the latest Industrial trends Survey from the CBI, manufacturing order books remained robust and output growth accelerated in February.
The research was conducted among 380 manufacturers and found that total order books improved slightly on January, although they remained below levels recorded in November and December. In all, 26% of firms reported that total order books were above normal in February and 23% said they were below giving a balance of +3%, an increase from January (-2%) and well above the long-run average (-17%), although below the levels in December (+12%).

In addition, overall export orders rebounded after a drop in January. 18% said their export orders were above normal, while 19% said they were below normal giving a balance of -1%, well above the long-run average (-20%).

Output increased at one of the strongest rates since survey records began in 1975. Optimism about output prospects also improved, with expectations for output growth over the three months ahead at their strongest since September - 16 out of 17 sectors expect output to expand over the next three months.

Head of economic analysis at the CBI, Anna Leach, said: 'The manufacturing sector shows continued signs of improvement with demand high and steady and output growing strongly. Growth is increasingly broad-based and firms' growth expectations are the highest for several months.

She added: 'As the UK and global economies continue to strengthen over the coming months, we expect conditions to continue to improve for UK manufacturers and to increasingly feed through to business investment.'

Coronavirus industry update

UPDATED 22 April: In response to the Coronavirus pandemic, manufacturers, wholesalers and distributors are issuing statements regarding their operations as the situation evolves. The most up to date information from each company is listed below and ...


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