THE first month of 2020 saw the performance of the UK manufacturing sector steady following the downturn experienced through much of last year, according to the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply. Reduced levels of political uncertainty following the general election led to recoveries in new orders and business confidence and stabilisation of production volumes.
Output rose in the consumer and intermediate goods sectors, as manufacturers in these industries scaled up production in response to improved inflows of new business. Optimism improved to an eight-month high, with 47 per cent of manufacturers forecasting that output would expand over the year ahead.
Improved confidence reflected reduced political uncertainty, higher demand, an expected recovery in export volumes and planned new product launches. However, optimism remained low compared to the historical standards of the survey, in part due to ongoing uncertainty at some firms about the impact of Brexit on their businesses.
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