Manufacturers look beyond the economic gloom to future growth

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Britain’s manufacturers are looking beyond economic gloom to future growth, according to the manufacturers’ organisation, the EEF.

Although half of the manufacturing executives, surveyed for the EEF’s Economic Prospects report expect the UK’s economic prospects to worsen, they are much more optimistic about the growth potential of their own businesses.

The EEF says there are signs that companies have already adjusted their business plans in response to the growing global economic uncertainty; hunting out new, global markets for their products and services to take advantage of growth opportunities.

Its survey shows continued confidence about manufacturers’ performance in export markets, with more than four out of five expecting sales to be the same or greater in 2012 than last year.

Almost two out of five saw greater opportunities for both products and services in more than one non-traditional market, following a 20 per cent increase in exports to non-EU markets in the year to October 2011.

EEF regional director Andy Tüscher said: “UK manufacturing has posted solid growth in the past few years but the environment has clearly become a lot more challenging.

“The road ahead for manufacturing and the UK is extremely uncertain but there still some grounds for optimism.

“Manufacturing has proved to be agile and resilient through a bumpy recovery and companies are continuously looking for new sources of growth.

“However, this year won’t pass without challenges.”

Mr Tüscher cites global economic uncertainty, access to affordable finance, supply chain constraints and raw materials shortages as factors that could hit production levels and confidence.