British manufacturers enjoyed their strongest quarter since the start of 2015, in spite of "muted" growth in the broader economy, according to analysis based on a massive survey of United Kingdom businesses published today.
The proportion of manufacturing firms reporting improved domestic sales and orders both rose in the quarter to their highest level since Q1 2015. It also showed that export sales and orders improved, as stronger recent economic growth in a number of key markets has helped support demand for United Kingdom products.
Suren Thiru, head of economics at the BCC, said: "We'd caution against an earlier than required tightening in monetary policy, which could hit both business and consumer confidence and weaken overall United Kingdom growth".
Suren Thiru, BCC head of economics, said: "The manufacturing sector saw a welcome improvement across a number of indicators, boosted in part by stronger growth in key export markets".
The influential group surveyed over 7,100 businesses.
Hiring difficulties were facing businesses across both sectors. With Brexit-related uncertainty growing, the Q3 QES highlights the need for action to support a competitive and enterprising business environment.
Firms reported export sales and orders also grew in the manufacturing sector as economic growth in key United Kingdom markets has added to demand for United Kingdom products.
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The percentage balance of manufacturing firms expecting the price of their goods to increase over the next three months remains well above the historical average, rising slightly from +34 to +35. Its employment expectations, investment in training and confidence in profitability and turnover have also stayed much the same.
Services exports remained flat in the third quarter, with the balance of firms reporting improved improved sales overseas edging up.
The percentage of businesses attempting to hire workers rose, rising from 49 per cent in the second quarter to 52 per cent.
"The Chancellor's Autumn Budget is a critical opportunity to demonstrate that the government stands ready to incentivise investment and support growth here at home".
"A failure to act, or a conscious choice to provide a short-term sugar hit to the electorate rather than the protein boost the economy needs, would have significant consequences for the UK's medium-term growth prospects".
He added that the Government has the power to provide solutions to the greatest issues facing firms, which include high up-front costs, a lack of incentive to invest and a need for better infrastructure.
Figures for the dominant services sector, which accounts for nearly 80 per cent of British output, show confidence remaining mostly unchanged over the quarter, albeit still below levels seen before the European Union referendum in June 2016.
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