UK manufacturing orders grew at the strongest pace in ten months in December as the rollout of the Covid-19 vaccine raised hopes for the future, the Industrial Trends Survey from the Confederation of British Industry showed Friday.

The order book balance rose to -25 percent in December from -40 percent in November. This was the highest since February 2020. However, they remained below the long-run average of -14 percent.

The export order books balance improved moderately to -44 percent from -51 percent in the previous month.

Manufacturers reported a slower decline in output volume in three months to December. A net balance of -6 percent expect output to fall in the next quarter.

Manufacturers expect muted pricing pressure in the next three months.

Tom Crotty, Group Director at INEOS and Chair of the CBI Manufacturing Council, said 2020 has been an incredibly difficult year for manufacturers, as firms have had to deal with the dual impact of a global pandemic and continued Brexit uncertainty.

“One of the key ways the government can help manufacturers is to strike a Brexit deal, as manufacturing is one of the sectors that would be hardest hit by a no deal Brexit,” Crotty said.

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