Business waits on Queen’s Speech

Following the disarray since the general election, with the Conservatives failing to reach any solid deal with the DUP and the tragic events of Grenfell Tower – not to mention the start of Brexit negotiations – filling the Prime Minister’s time, the only solid thing to look forward to is today’s (21st June) Queen’s Speech and businesses are eager to know what is in store for them and the economy. Continue reading

Manufacturing gets a boost

Recent research has found that the output for UK manufacturing is on track for its fastest growth since 2014, with a weaker pound driving overseas demand for British goods.

According to manufacturing organisation EEF’s quarterly survey, businesses have reported healthy orders from Asia, the US and continental Europe, leading analysts to revise their forecast for factory output for this year up to 1.3 per cent from 1 per cent three months ago.

However, a spokesman for the organisation warned that rising raw material costs, skills shortages and insufficient investment could create problems, even though confidence and growth have not been knocked off track by the uncertainty of the imminent election.

In addition, he added that Brexit-related uncertainty was presenting “less of a drag than previously expected”, with the result that demand is “buoyant” in European markets, with more than 60 per cent of firms saying they had seen an increase in orders.

Meanwhile, the report found that higher import prices should encourage UK households to move towards domestically produced goods and services, and away from imported goods.

The EEF’s report comes on the back of a separate survey from the Markit/CIPS UK purchasing managers’ index (PMI), which shows that manufacturing beat expectations in May, as the weaker pound gave exporters a boost.

According to the Markit PMI, manufacturing output came in at 57.3 last month, a rise from the 56.5 expected by analysts. This is good news, as any reading above 50 denotes growth.

The survey found that expansion in the sector hit its highest level in three years in April, raising expectations that the sector will provide a bigger boost to the economy in the second quarter of the year.