New orders at Britain’s factories grew at the strongest rate in almost three years in the three months to January as economic uncertainty faded.
A total of 34% of manufacturers reported an increase in new orders over the period, while 21% reported a fall according to the CBI’s latest industrial trends survey. The subsequent balance of +13% was the highest since April 2011.
The picture was less positive for the month of January alone however, with the new orders balance falling unexpectedly to -2% from +12% in December. There was an even sharper drop in export orders, with a balance of -16% reporting a fall.
Howard Archer, chief UK economist at IHS Global Insight, said: “Overall, the CBI survey points to the manufacturing sector being pretty well placed and upbeat at the start of 2014. However, the dip in orders in January is a reminder that the manufacturing sector is not guaranteed a strong 2014.”
Output increased at a faster pace in the three months to January, with a balance of +18% reporting an increase compared with +8% in the three months to October.