RTTNews - U.K.'s small and medium-sized manufacturers said the rate of decline in orders and output is slowing, the latest quarterly SME Trends Survey results from the Confederation of British Industry showed Monday. At the same time, medium-sized companies forecast a return to growth in the next quarter.

A balance of minus 34% said the volume of total new orders declined in the three months to July. This was an improvement on the previous quarter's balance of minus 51%, which was the worst figure since the survey began in 1988. Further, a net 28% of manufacturers reported a drop in manufacturing output volume, marking a slower rate of fall than the previous quarter's survey low of minus 48%.

Expectations for volumes of total new orders and output remained negative for small and medium sized firms as a whole. Optimism about the business situation among small and medium-sized manufacturers was falling at a slower rate with a balance of minus 9%, compared with a balance of minus 42% in the previous quarter.

Russel Griggs, Chairman of the CBI's SME Council said, So far, the relative weakness of sterling has not provided firms with much of an export boost. It is therefore encouraging that medium-sized companies are hopeful overseas orders will pick up in the next quarter, helping raise total orders and output. Medium-sized firms are also benefiting from improved access to credit, unlike smaller companies which tend to have fewer funding options available to them.

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