May 5, 2011

Smaller manufacturers boosted by stronger demand

by Jan Harris

Small and medium-sized manufacturing companies in the UK benefited from strong order levels in the three months to April, according to the CBI’s latest quarterly SME Trends Survey,

Order volumes grew at the fastest rate since April 1995 during the quarter, with 39 per cent of respondents to the survey reporting an increase in domestic orders, while 37 per cent said that export volumes increased.

This led to 16 per cent of the firm’s surveyed increasing staff headcount.

However, firms were adversely affected by a sharp increase in production costs.

Lucy Armstrong, chair of the CBI’s SME Council, said: “Inflationary pressures remain a dark cloud, with rising oil and commodity prices pushing up the cost of production and eating into profit margins.”

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