Growth in manufacturing output accelerated in the three months to November according to the latest monthly CBI Industrial Trends Survey.
Order books also continued to fill up. Total orders were, by a small margin, the strongest since August 1988, while export order books were the joint highest in more than 20 years.
The improvement in total order books was particularly marked in food & drink and chemicals, while export order books strengthened notably in chemicals, electronics and transport goods.
Output is expected to continue expanding in the three months to February, although at a more moderate pace.
Stocks were broadly adequate in the quarter to November, though the level of stocks was below the long-run average.
Expectations for price inflation were similar to recent months, around average.
Anna Leach, CBI Head of Economic Intelligence, said:
“UK manufacturers are once more performing strongly as global growth and the lower level of sterling continue to support demand. Output growth has picked up again, and export order books match the highest in more than 20 years.
“Nonetheless, uncertainty continues to hold back investment and cost pressures remain strong. Manufacturers will be hoping the Budget brings some relief from the business rates burden in particular.”