Manufacturing sees ‘buoyant’ European demand, survey says

British manufacturing growth remains strong, with exports up and companies positive about prospects for the rest of 2017, a survey shows. The EEF employers’ organisation, which said companies’ recruitment plans are healthy, raised its manufacturing growth forecasts for 2017 and 2018. The survey, compiled with accountancy firm BDO, said demand from European markets was particularly strong. Despite Brexit fears and the election, confidence is high, the EEF said. The quarterly survey said that demand in European markets “looks especially buoyant”, with 61% of companies surveyed reporting an upturn. The balance between firms planning to recruit and those contracting stood at 21% during the quarter, up from 18% in the previous three months. Optimism about future growth also rose, leading the EEF to revise upwards its forecasts. Manufacturing is now expected to expand by 1.3% in 2017 and 0.5% in 2018, up from 1% and 0.1% respectively.