Engineering survey

Nine quarter growth run ends for Scottish factories

Orders have slowed for the first time since early 2021

A sequence of nine consecutive quarters of growing orders among Scotland’s industrial companies has come to an end as a result of higher interest rates and costs.

The latest three-month report from trade group Scottish Engineering reveals the effect these had on construction and steelwork fabrication in particular.

Among those responding, 73% noted increased labour costs, while material pricing issues affected 72%.

Energy remains a significant concern and in this last quarter 69% of those surveyed experienced increased costs for their energy despite the overall fall in wholesale pricing. 

Order intake has, for the first time since March 2021, shown a net decrease of 10%, a drop of 36 percentage points since last quarter. 

Similarly, exports have also seen a notable decline in the same period, with a net decrease of 11% overall, a decline from last quarter of 29 percentage points. 

The forecast for the next three months remains broadly positive for most company sizes and sectors.

Medium sized companies are showing the highest for order intake (+42%) with precision engineering close behind with a forecast of +30%. 

Electrical & electronics show the largest planned increase in employees (+63%) despite modest UK increases and flat export orders for the coming quarter and metal products have forecast the highest increase in UK prices (+50%).

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