EEF/BDO Manufacturing Outlook Q1 2017

PUBLISHED 06 Mar 2017

Export rebound fuels strong manufacturing outlook

UK manufacturing has got off to a much stronger start in 2017 than expected, defying firms’ own expectations and providing a much-needed boost to confidence, recruitment and investment, according to the Q1 2017 EEF/BDO Manufacturing Outlook.


Key points:

  • UK manufacturing enjoys a stronger Q1 than expected – sector posts positive balances in every key performance indicator
  • Strong output balance of 31% smashes expectations and hits highest level since Q3 2013 – at the same time a balance of 29% of firms see orders heading in the right direction
  • Export demand improves significantly – just a fifth of firms (20%) are yet to see any pick up in overseas markets
  • Business confidence, investment and employment intentions all rally – but further domestic price hikes are on the cards as manufacturers seek to alleviate pressure on margins

Regional trends:

Encouragingly, all UK regions have reported growth in manufacturing output in the first quarter of 2017. Output gains also appeared to be stronger than in the past quarter across most UK regions, with the East of England being the only exception.

Looking forward, output balances for the next three months remain in positive territory across the UK, consistent with strong expectations for new orders. A broad-based improvement in business confidence has also translated into better investment and employment prospects.




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