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UK manufacturing order growth highest since 2011

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New orders at Britain's factories during three months to January grew at the highest rate since April 2011, as economic certainty strengthened.

The Guardian reports that, a new survey released on Tuesday by the Confederation of British Industry also showed that manufacturers are optimistic about continued expansion in the next quarter and are becoming more confident about the recovery.

34% of manufacturers reported an increase in new orders over the period, while 21% reported a fall. The balance of 13% was the highest for nearly three years.

However, the figure for January alone was less positive. Here, the new orders balance fell unexpectedly to -2% from 12% in December.

Commenting on the results, Howard Archer chief UK economist at IHS Global Insight, said, "Overall, the CBI survey points to the manufacturing sector being pretty well placed and upbeat at the start of 2014. However, the dip in orders in January is a reminder that the manufacturing sector is not guaranteed a strong 2014."

He added that improving global growth should help UK manufacturers' export orders during 2014, although the upside for export orders may well be constrained by only gradually improving domestic demand in the Eurozone.

Meanwhile, according to VocaLink, the company processing salary payments for much of the British workforce, people working in the manufacturing sector felt the UK pay squeeze more than most other workers.

Decreases in real wages were highest in the public sector and the manufacturing sector.

Real take-home pay in manufacturing fell again in December but at a slower pace. The annual decline was 1.1%, after a 1.6% fall in the three months to the end of November.

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