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Manufacturers 'cautious' in the North East

Date 8 May 2007
Author The Editor

The last three months have seen a marked improvement in business confidence among manufacturers right across the UK, with virtually all regions benefiting from better margins and stronger order books, according to the latest Regional Trends Survey published this week by the CBI and Experian.

For the first time since February 1995, business confidence improved in all UK regions. The majority of regions have strong expectations of further gains in new orders during the next three months, led by Wales, the East Midlands and the North East. The survey results also show that the strongest gains in the past quarter have been seen in Wales, the North East, the North West and the East Midlands. However, despite continued growth in output and orders, manufacturing employment fell at its fastest pace for a year, and the North East is among the regions most pessimistic about employment, along with the South West and the West Midlands.

Peter Gutmann of Experian said: "With expectations of strenghtening factory output and export demand over the coming months, the survey presents a more encouraging picture of UK manufacturing than recent official data. Manufacturers have faced up to a strong pound and an improvement in business confidence reflects the more positive outlook for 2007."

Sarah Green, Regional Director of CBI North East, said: "Business confidence is on the increase and the survey shows that the region's manufacturers are very confident that total orders will continue to rise. I think this reflects the measured optimism of North East businesses – things are going well but they are not likely to shout ‘business is booming’ as they remain cautious about possible further increases in interest rates and the pressures of wage inflation."

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