SME Manufacturers Looking to Increase Investment

Manufacturing is set for investment in 2014The latest SME Trends Survey from the CBI shows that small manufacturers are confident and ready to invest…

Today’s CBI SME Trends Survey reveals that of 335 SME manufacturers surveyed, total orders and output volume has increased in the three months to January 2014.

Export orders have fallen as have export prices but domestic demand, despite prices remaining flat, has increased and the UK’s SME manufacturers are expecting growth in both home and away markets and a corresponding upturn in production.

The improved optimism the manufacturing sector, for the third consecutive quarter in a row, has led businesses to look at increasing investment spending over the year ahead. Spend is expected to reach "record levels" for buildings (since records began in October 1988) and is even stronger for planned spend on plant and machinery.

Other indications from the SME Trends Survey are that firms have had a "modest" increase in their headcount, showing confidence in taking on new workers. The growth in employment for manufacturers, at just 4% was not as high as the expected figure of 14%

Stephen Gifford, the CBI’s Director of Economics, said of the latest figures:

“As the recovery takes hold, the investment cycle is starting to turn. It’s encouraging to see smaller manufacturers planning to boost investment, particularly in their plant, machinery and buildings.”

“Orders and output continued to grow at a healthy pace, although not as fast as predicted. However, firms remain optimistic about prospects, with growth in orders and production expected to accelerate.”

The results of the latest survey are an encouraging upward trend after optimism amongst SME manufacturers was first noted as being on the increase in July last year.

The full results of the CBI SME Trends Survey are only available to CBI members.

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For more information about manufacturing growth, see our page on Manufacturing for Growth

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