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Smaller UK factories' sales expectations hit near 3-year high: survey
[LONDON] Sales expectations among small and medium-sized British factories hit an almost three-year high last month, boosted by a strong global economy, adding to positive signals from the manufacturing sector, a survey showed on Tuesday.
Some 72 per cent of manufacturers expect sales to increase over the next six months, up from 59 per cent three months ago, according to the quarterly National Manufacturing Barometer, conducted by business consultancies SWMAS and Economic Growth Solutions.
Manufacturing was the fastest growing sector of Britain's economy in the final three months of last year, helping to offset slow spending from consumers who have been squeezed by high inflation since the 2016 Brexit vote.
Tuesday's survey also showed 56 per cent of manufacturers plan to invest in plant and machinery over the next six months, up from 43 per cent three months ago.
"Confidence levels are riding high in the manufacturing sector despite market uncertainties, demonstrating the strength and resilience of our SME (small and medium-sized) manufacturers," said Simon Howes, chief executive of the Exelin Group which owns SWMAS.
The closely-watched IHS Markit/CIPS survey of manufacturing, which accounts for a tenth of British economic output, is due on Thursday.
The National Manufacturing Barometer surveyed 320 companies through January.