Britain’s manufacturing order books are at their fullest since the start of the financial crisis, while car production has also leapt ahead, adding to growing optimism about the economy.
Yesterday’s upbeat data, from employers’ body the CBI, came a just day after it emerged that the Bank of England had upgraded its growth forecast for the third quarter from 0.5 per cent to 0.7 per cent.
The latest CBI figures, from its industrial trends survey, show 28 per cent of firms reported total order books above normal in September and 19 per cent said they were below. The positive balance of 9 per cent was the highest since August 2007.
Meanwhile, a positive balance of 33 per cent of firms expect to raise output over the next three months.
Stephen Gifford, CBI director of economics, said: “This month’s results show the manufacturing recovery continues to gather pace. Order books are the fullest they’ve been since the start of the financial crisis, and firms are ramping up production to meet demand. Firms are more upbeat about growth prospects in the coming quarter than at any time since 1995.”
David Tinsley, UK economist at BNP Paribas, said: “Overall UK data flow remains very constructive. The outlook has clearly improved.
“The questions are more about its durability. Here there are fair questions as to whether the tightening in UK financial conditions, including the rise in sterling, along with a still weak real income picture may in time see UK growth shift downwards.”
Meanwhile the Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders (SMMT) said UK manufacturers built 91,282 cars in August, up 16.2 per cent on the same period in 2012, leaving year-to-date volumes 3.1 per cent ahead of 2012, at 984,545.
John Leech, head of automotive at KPMG in the UK, said that, while the figures may be flattered by the poor results this time last year as Greek and Spanish debt crises gathered pace, UK car production looked set to carry on rising and reach 1.9 million in three years.