Small manufacturers are increasingly hopeful about the prospects for exporting internationally, although the fall in sterling has increased their costs while making their products cheaper, according to a new poll.
According to the CBI’s survey, a net 4pc of small firms are optimistic about their business situation, bouncing back strongly from immediately after the EU referendum, when a net 44pc were pessimistic.
Echoing the bullish sentiment of large manufacturers in a similar poll last week, a net 4pc of small firms said new orders were up over the past three months, and 13pc expect an increase in the coming quarter.
While just 2pc more companies reported a rise in export orders than a fall, this was the first quarter since mid-2014 where exports have not declined, according to the CBI’s survey. A net balance of 33pc expect a jump in the next three months.
However, firms suggested that costs are rising sharply, with the biggest jump in businesses reporting higher expenses since April 2013. More than half of businesses with fewer than 500 staff said price was likely to limit export orders in the next three months, the highest reading in over a year, while 42pc pointed to political and economic conditions abroad.