Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 21°C

min temp: 14°C

ESTD 1874 Search

East of Engalnd: CBI chief says uncertainty is weighing on SME investment plans

06:00 04 February 2013

Richard Tunnicliffe, East of England regional director

Richard Tunnicliffe, East of England regional director

SMALL and medium-sized manufacturers saw domestic and export orders continue to fall in the three months to January, while production also contracted for the third consecutive quarter, according to a new survey.

shares

However, both domestic orders and output are expected to increase in the coming three months, the CBI’s latest quarterly SME Trends Survey shows.

New orders declined slightly (minus 5%), for the second quarter running, driven by falls in both domestic orders (minus 6%) and export orders (minus 9%), although both declined at a slower pace than the previous quarter (minus11% and 21% respectively.

However, SMEs expect total new orders to grow over the next three months (plus 9%), likely to be driven by anticipated growth in domestic orders (plus 10%), although, in contrast, export demand is expected to be broadly flat (minus 2%).

In line with falling demand this quarter, output continued to fall (minus 8%), failing to meet expectations of modest growth (plus 5%). However, once again, production is expected to increase next quarter (plus 7%).

With less activity over the last three months, numbers employed in the sector fell slightly (minus 4%), for the first time in three years, but SMEs anticipate an increase in headcount in the next quarter (plus11%).

Richard Tunnicliffe, CBI director in the East of England, said: “Activity has continued to contract this quarter, with falling production disappointing growth expectations.

“Nonetheless, better news on the domestic front is expected, with output and domestic orders set to rise modestly. But there is little sign of improvement in export prospects, and uncertainty over demand continues to weigh on investment plans.”

SMEs remain concerned about export prospects for the year ahead with optimism falling significantly (minus 22%), at the fastest pace since April 2009 (miinus 32%).

However, sentiment overall deteriorated at a slower pace: a balance of minus 6% said they were less optimistic regarding the business situation in the three months to January, with the rate of decline easing compared with the previous two quarters (July minus13%, October minus12%).

Furthermore, firms’ plant and machinery investment intentions for the year ahead turned positive (plus 4%) for the first time since April 2012 (plus 13%). However, more firms believed that uncertainty over demand would limit capital spending, cited by 64%, the highest since April 2009 (70%).

shares

0 comments

Post Office services to return to Yoxford

The Post Office in a Suffolk town is moving to new premises, and will offer longer opening hours.

Dame Fiona Kendrick:, chief executive of Nestlé  UK & Ireland

Food giant Nestlé has announced plans to close its defined benefit pension scheme, sparking the threat of industrial action.

The Treasury has sold another 1% stake in Lloyds Banking Group.

The taxpayers’ stake in Lloyds Banking Group has fallen to below 16% after the Government sold off another tranche of shares.

The installation of solar panels on the roof of Precision Marketing Group's premises in Lamdin Road, Bury St Edmunds

A Suffolk-based firm will be among the organisations taking part in a nation-wide celebration of solar energy tomorrow.

Candy Gaga'’s Wanda Hewell, right, and daughter, Cherish.

Tower Ramparts in Ipswich now has its very own castle – thanks to the success of a local sweet shop business.

Stansted Airport

A report into the future of Britain’s airports does not rule out a second runway at Stansted – and raises fears of extra night flights to the Essex airport.

Growth in manufacturing eased last month  to its slowest level in two years.

Britain’s manufacturing sector grew at its slowest pace in more than two years last month, impacted by subdued demand from Europe.

Speedy Hire
 has warned that its results for this year will come in

Tool rental business Speedy Hire saw nearly a third of its stock market value wiped off after it announced the shock departure of its chief executive and warned over a major blow to full year profits.

Greene King chief executive Rooney Anand.

Pubs and brewing group Greene King today posted another year of record revenues, with sales within its key Retail division topping £1billion for the first time.

Suffolk Coastal considers convenience store bid

Planning chiefs have responded to concerns about noise and antisocial behaviour arising from proposals for a new convenience store in Kesgrave by insisting on closing times being brought forward an hour and the installation of a barrier to restrict overnight parking.

Most read

Topic pages