Manufacturers find New Year cheer in midst of Brexit concerns
20 Dec 2018
British manufacturing performed unexpectedly well for the three months to December, reports the Confederation of British Industry’s most recent Industrial Trends Survey.
Output growth rose in the period for 15 out of 17 sub-sectors, according to nearly 350 industry respondents questioned.
Process sectors including food & drink and chemicals are among the key successes. Total order books remained firm in December, staying well above their long-run average, while export order books improved noticeably and are now at their strongest since January this year, said the CBI.
"The UK's manufacturing sector [entered] the Christmas period with a small upswing, with output growth gathering further pace. The firming in exports orders is also particularly welcome,” commented CBI head of economic intelligence Anna Leach.
Government could bring some cheer to the manufacturing sector by delivering on a Brexit deal
Tom Crotty, chair, CBI manufacturing group
However, she said that despite the benefits of firm global economic growth and a low sterling exchange rate, “subdued domestic momentum” and ongoing Brexit uncertainty could cause difficulties.
“Uncertainty over Brexit still casts a long shadow over this sector and the rest of the economy. Politicians must finally stop the endless infighting and come together to secure a workable solution, or we're in danger of edging closer to a no-deal Brexit.”
Chair of the CBI manufacturing council and Ineos group director Tom Crotty added that while the latest report offered encouraging news, businesses would need more clarity on the future from Westminster.
He said: “The government could bring some cheer to the manufacturing sector by delivering on a Brexit deal that achieves continued frictionless trade with the EU and a transition period.”