Manufacturing firms ‘quietly confident’ about year ahead

Half of firms see more risks than oppportunities
Half of firms see more risks than oppportunities

Half of manufacturing firms are braced for a decline in economic conditions this year although they still expect to increase sales, a study shows.

Research by the manufacturers’ organisation, the EEF found grounds for optimism for jobs and investment despite the continued uncertainty of the impact of Brexit.

A survey of almost 300 company executives revealed that half see more risks than opportunities in 2017.

EEF said the results showed that companies felt “quietly confident” about the year ahead.

Terry Scuoler, chief executive of the EEF, said: “Global political upheaval means that 2017 looks set to be another bumpy ride, with manufacturers forced to navigate uncertainty, unpredictable economic conditions and a number of risks that have been amplified by Brexit.

“Against this backdrop a smooth journey is far from guaranteed, but firms are strongly attuned to the challenges and remain fully focused and determined to deliver on their long-term plans for growth.

“With a new digitally-driven industrial era on the horizon and everything to play for, this long-term vision and focus is vital - despite the peaks and troughs manufacturers cannot afford to be diverted away from where they need to be.

“In many ways 2017 is likely to be another unprecedented year of change and uncertainty, but the UK manufacturing sector remains ambitious, resilient and adaptable.”

A separate report found that seven out of 10 builders have seen an increase in prices for materials due to the depreciation of the pound.