East Anglia: Manufacturing recovery gathering pace, says EEF/BDO and Markit/CIPS surveys

Keith Ferguson, manufacturing partner for BDO in East Anglia.

Keith Ferguson, manufacturing partner for BDO in East Anglia.

Manufacturers in the East of England are experiencing a surge in activity as the economic recovery begins to take hold, according to a new survey published today.

The latest EEF/BDO Manufacturing Outlook survey, produced quarterly by the manufacturers’ organisation EEF and accountants firm BDO LLP, shows a balance of 38% of firms in the region reporting increased output over those reporting a decline.

The figure compares with a balance of just 7% in the region during previous quarter and is the highest recorded in the region for more than a year.

It also means that the regional has overtaken the national averaged, with the UK as a whole showing an output growth balance of 32% for the latest quarter, against 12% in the previous survey.

The findings were echoed a separate report also published today, with the closely watched Markit/CIPS Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) for activity in the manufacturing sector rising to 57.2 in August, well above the 50.0 threshtold between growth and contraction and the highest figure since February 2011.

The EEF/BDO survey also shows improved expectations in the region for output, orders, employment and investment for the remainder of 2013.

Jim Davison, EEF’s East of England regional director, said: “Industry’s prospects have brightened considerably in the past few months. There is growing confidence that improving trading conditions will continue into the final months of this year and then accelerate through the gears in 2014.”

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Keith Ferguson, manufacturing partner for BDO in East Anglia, said: “A domestic market at its strongest for almost three years, backed by export sales at a two year high, means manufacturers across all sectors and throughout the supply chain are feeling the benefits of an impressive return to confidence.”

However, he added: “Let’s reiterate, this is not ‘manufacturing sector ? job done’ for the Government. We must use it as a strong foundation for continued efforts to ensure the sector gets the support it needs to act as an engine of change for our economy.”

The Markit/CIPS survey showed output rising at its fastest pace since July 1994 while new orders increased at their strongest pace since August 1994.

Rob Dobson, senior economist at survey compilers Markit, said: “The UK’s factories are booming again.” Rising demand from domestic customers was being accompanied by a return to growth of the eurozone, he added.