Confidence deteriorated

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Confidence among UK manufacturers deteriorated during the past three months, but they are now predicting a slight rise in export orders and modest growth in output in the first quarter of 2012, according to the CBI.

The employers’ organisation says confidence was hit by stagnant output, falling demand and concerns over exports as 2011 drew to a close and conditions in the manufacturing sector remain fragile.

CBI Director-General John Cridland said: “We know that 2012 will be not be an easy year. The watchword continues to be uncertainty.

“The crisis in the Eurozone is still hanging over the UK, threatening future growth. With large amounts of peripheral countries’ debt maturing in the coming months, Eurozone stability is far from assured.

“Nevertheless, there are some tentative signs that things could improve somewhat in the coming quarter. Key factors behind this include the fact that the US recovery has been better than expected, and the impact of the credit rating downgrades in the Euro area has been muted.”