Manufacturing sector set for upturn

The
CBI says the squeeze on manufacturing sector output looks set to ease after six
months of losses.  Its monthly Industry
Trends Survey for February finds 28 per cent of manufacturers expect output
volumes to be up over the next four months, while 27 per cent say volumes will
fall.

The
balance of 1 per cent is the first positive balance since July 2001. The CBI
said this marks a significant recovery from December’s three-year low of -28
per cent.

CBI
head of economic analysis Doug Godden said: "In the survey we appear to be
seeing the first signs that the severe squeeze on manufacturing is starting to
ease."

But,
he added: "It would be wrong to overstate the good news. While this is the
first time since last summer that manufacturers have not been expecting a fall
in output, they are not expecting an increase either.

"Order
books are still well below normal and both profit margins and prices are still
under severe pressure."

By
Quentin Reade

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