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Output among small and medium-sized manufacturers grew at the fastest pace in 7 years as demand for exports remained strong in Q2 2017.

Out of 364 businesses polled for the SME trends quarterly survey, 38% reported an increase in total new orders in the 3 months to 31 July 2017.

36% also said the volume of orders grew at a strong pace, with export orders growing at the highest rate since April 2011.

Furthermore, 28% of SMEs took on more staff in Q2 2017 and intend to continue recruiting in the next quarter. 

Overall, 19% of firms were optimistic about the general business situation compared to 3 months ago and 22% are more confident on their export prospects for the next 12 months.

Alpesh Paleja, principle economist at the Confederation of British Industry, said:

“Firms are clearly in an exporting sweet spot, able to exploit the competitiveness gains from a low exchange rate and a firm global backdrop.

“But the boost from a lower exchange rate will fade over time, so maintaining frictionless and tariff-free trade routes with the EU will be critical for future exporting success.”

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