The manufacturing sector saw activity fall in March, although production is expected to rebound over the next three months, according to CBI’s Industrial Trends Survey.
A survey of 471 manufacturers had found that output volumes over the three months to March fell at the fastest pace since September 2009. Out of 18 manufacturing sub-sectors, 8 had posted output decline. The food and drink sector attributed to two-thirds of the decline, which is possibly due to production being hit by localised flooding and mild weather.
Over the next quarter however, manufacturers are anticipating a reasonably strong rise in output, with 39% predicting growth, which is the highest level for thirteen months, with a rebound in food and drink.
Elsewhere, total order books saw a slight rise compared to the level at the start of the year, while export orders remained unchanged from last month.
Companies are still anticipating a fall in prices in the near-term but in a lesser extent to the previous month.
“March has been a mixed month for the UK’s manufacturers. Whilst total order and export books remained steady, a drop in output reflected some volatility in the food and drink sector. Reassuringly, manufacturers expect a swift turnaround in activity.
“While the Budget included several policies that should drive growth, the absence of further measures to support innovation, and research and development, was a missed opportunity to boost investment. The Government’s upcoming National Innovation Plan needs to address this vital issue.”