Currency fluctuations and global growth help drive manufacturing boom

Growth in Britain’s manufacturing output is now at its fastest rate for a decade, new figures have confirmed.

The sector has expanded for seven months in succession, with output almost four per cent higher in the three months to November than in the corresponding period in 2016.

The automotive industry has once again been singled out for praise, although export data also suggests that the development of renewable energy technology and production of both boats and aeroplanes had also buoyed the figures.

The BBC’s economics editor, Kamal Ahmed, suggested that activity continued to be fuelled by two key factors – a weaker pound and growth internationally.

“Sterling’s fall in value following the Brexit referendum has made UK exports more competitive,” he said.

“And for the first time since the financial crisis, the three main engines of global growth – the USA, China and Europe – are performing strongly at the same time.

“That has led to car exports, for example, rising rapidly – contributing to a narrowing of the trade deficit with the rest of the world.”

Lee Hopley, the chief economist at the manufacturers’ organisation EEF, said: “UK manufacturers were, in the main, in good shape as 2017 came to a close, with the majority of sub-sectors enjoying growth.

“Manufacturers’ expectations for the year ahead point to output and export growth being maintained through this year on the back of continuing support from a burgeoning global economy.

“This, together with an ongoing commitment from government to deliver on its industrial strategy, will be crucial in helping to propel the sector forward.”

The latest batch of figures, collated by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) and published this week, also confirm that industrial output rose by 0.4 per cent in November.

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