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Weak pound boosts output

Scots factories shrug off Brexit to ‘get on with it’

Scottish manufacturing exporters are enjoy growth in activity on the back of weak sterling as the sector reports “further improvement” across the board.

Trade group Scottish Engineering’s first quarterly review of the indicates healthy growth in export orders in particular where a net 30% of businesses are reporting above normal activity. It also records a 27% positive return for total orders.

Bryan Buchan, CEO (pictured), attributes the dramatic gains in export orders in part to the relative weakness of sterling.

Output volume and optimism are up on the final quarter of 2016 and the forecast for the next three months in UK orders remain positive.

Mr Buchan said: “After the initial shock of last year’s Brexit vote, Scottish engineering companies have adopted the usual pragmatic approach and buckled down to getting on with business.

“Major areas of concern for all Scottish operations include the revisions in business rates, the relatively unfavourable mid-range personal taxation regime, and the long-awaited details of the disbursement of the Apprenticeship Levy takings.”

> Private sector growth picked up in the three months to February, according to the CBI’s latest Growth Indicator.

The survey of 778 respondents across the manufacturing, distribution and service sectors showed that growth rose to a balance of +15%, climbing from the balance of +10% in the three months to January.

The uptick was largely driven by a rebound in consumer services, which saw the fastest growth in business volumes since August 2015.

Retail sales and manufacturing output also grew at solid pace, the latter mirroring its performance in the quarter to January. However, the business and professional services sector saw no change in volumes.

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