Engineering industry gets on with business.

The first Quarterly Review of the engineering industry for 2017 shows a further improvement in most areas.  There is healthy growth in export orders, in particular where a net 30% of businesses are reporting above normal activity.

The QR survey also records a 27% positive return for total orders.

Bryan Buchan, Chief Executive of Scottish Engineering, attributes the dramatic gains in export orders in part to the relative weakness of Sterling.

Similar success is being reported by machine shops: +38%, and mechanical equipment: +10% in their UK orders, and by metal manufacturing: +33% and transport: +50% in their export orders.

Output volume throughout the engineering sector shows a net +14%, and optimism at a net +17% is also showing improvement on the previous improvement reported in the final quarter of 2016.

Looking forward, forecasts for the next three months in UK orders remain positive, with metal manufacturing +11%, and machine shops +13%, maintaining a strong trading position.  Output volume in the next quarter is also predicted to be +38% for transport and +10% for metal manufacturing.

Commenting on the sector generally, Bryan said: “After the initial shock of last year’s Brexit vote, engineering companies in Scotland have adopted the usual pragmatic approach and buckled down to getting on with business.

“Major areas of concern for all Scottish operations include the revisions in business rates, the relatively unfavourable mid-range personal taxation regiment and the long-awaited set ails of the disbursement of the Apprenticeship Levy takings.”

The Guest Writer in this edition of the Review is Will Dowson, the Bank of England’s Agent for Scotland, who sees a positive future for the engineering industry in Scotland.  He comments: “There is some uncertainty about the post-Brexit landscape, particularly for those companies that rely heavily on international trade, and some investment plans have been affected, which could drag on broth over the coming years.

“It is clear that the UK’s new relationship with the EU – and the reforms that it brings about, both at UK levels and here in Scotland – will determine our long-term prosperity.”