Small and medium-sized manufacturers continue to report increases in total domestic orders, output and numbers employed in the three months to April but exports continue to drag on growth. That’s according to the latest CBI SME Trends Survey out today.

The survey of 426 firms shows domestic orders rose for the seventh quarter running while export orders were broadly flat.

Domestic orders are expected to rise at a faster pace next quarter but export orders are set to remain broadly flat with manufacturers less optimistic about their export prospects for the year ahead. Prices were cited as the main limiting factor on exports.

The volume of output rose this quarter with manufacturers anticipating an even faster pick-up next quarter. With inflationary pressures low, both average unit costs and domestic prices were broadly flat, the latter for the third quarter running, and export prices continued to fall.

Firms continued to create more jobs in the three months to April with the rate of growth remaining above average. Employment in the sector is expected to grow strongly once again over the next quarter.

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