If there has been any scepticism of the economic recovery so far, it has been that it has been predicated on consumer demand and the service sector, rather than sustainable recovery in manufacturing, exports and business investment.
Well, hot on the heels of the news that the economy grew by 0.7% in the last quarter of 2013 and by 1.9% for the year as a whole, come reports this week, which indicate that both manufacturing exports and investment are picking up and the possible start of a re-balancing of the economy.
The January purchasing manager's index showed that foreign demand for UK-manufactured goods rose to a 3-year high in the month, with improved demand cited from North America, Europe, Asia, Brazil ad the Middle East. The rate of manufacturing growth slowed slightly compared to December but still remained at one of the highest levels in the survey's 22-year history, with commentators stating that the figures suggested larger increases ahead. Factory employment increased for the ninth month running.
A separate CBI survey of smaller manufacturers found that planned investment
on plant and machinery strengthened and that planned spending on buildings rose to the highest level since 1988, when the CBI's research began.
It has to be said that these are only early signs of a re-balancing of the recovery but a promising trend nonetheless...