According to the latest CBI’s Industry Trends Survey, UK manufacturers reported a joint-strong increase in orders since the start of the record and the fastest growth in output since July.
The Order Book Index, which measures how many orders are above or below normal, rose from +14 in April to +26 in May, matching previous records for March and November.
Export orders increased from -9 in May to +19, which is their highest since January 2018 and the measure of output in the last three months from +19 to a ten-month high of +30.
Overall production output growth increased three months from May, with a balance of +19 to +30 in the three months from April, with output growing at the fastest rate from three months to July 2021.
However, while output growth among manufacturers has accelerated, confidence has fallen further.
Sentiment has waned since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and investment plans are being pushed back.
Anna Leach, CBI deputy chief economist, said: “Manufacturers reported an increase in output and an improvement in the order book in May, but cost pressures continued to mount and manufacturers were forced to raise prices.”
The government can and must take action now to support the economy, he added. He said: “People who are already struggling should not delay in keeping pounds in their pockets, and should take steps to support the cash flow of companies and stimulate investment.”