Brighter outlook ahead for manufacturing firms

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The producers’ group EEF said that output has edged up after hitting its weakest level in six years in the final quarter of 2015.

It is still firmly rooted in negative area, but this may not be for long, with com nies predicting positive output advancement next quarter, the report said.

Total orders have crumbed negative in the first quarter, but are similarly up from a six-year low, suggesting that they may enjoy started to stabilise.

However, it added that despite recent gains, risks remain high and the sector is not out of the woods yet, “with concerns mounting concerning a more widespread slowdown in the world economy”.

The report said producers are still operating in a “storm of global uncertainty”, which is im cting on exports and ex nsion plans.

Lee Hopley, chief economist at the EEF, said: “After the gloomy end to final year, this latest data shows a chink of light, but we should not be avoiding the deckchairs out yet.

“The slide is bottoming out, but the manufacturing sector is still in negative vicinity and faces a precarious climb back up amid a storm of real uncertainty.”

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