April 22, 2010 / 10:07 AM / 10 years ago

Factory orders steady in April

LONDON (Reuters) - Factory orders remained weak in April, but firms were their most optimistic in two years about raising output in the coming months, the CBI’s monthly Industrial Trends survey showed on Thursday.

The Confederation of British Industry survey’s total order book balance improved only slightly this month to -36 from -37 in March, below expectations for a reading of -34.

The export order book balance rose to -16 from -18, the highest since August 2008.

“Manufacturing appears to be on an upward trend,” said CBI chief economic adviser Ian McCafferty.

“The appetite for UK-made goods overseas is growing strongly, thanks to the relative weakness of sterling and the gradual recovery of the global economy. With demand expected to strengthen further and stocks running low, UK firms are planning to step up production in the next quarter.”

The survey showed firms were continuing to expect to raise prices in the coming months, albeit at a slower pace, with the prices balance falling to +16 from +17 in March.

A separate quarterly poll showed companies were their most upbeat about their business situation than at any time since 1994.

Reporting by Christina Fincher

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