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Output stable as declining sterling drives exports surge

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A trade report by a Northern Ireland trade consultant said sterling’s slump since the Brexit vote had helped manufacturers rake in more export orders from America, China and the EU.

However, it added that the currency weakness had also increased import prices and the cost of products linked to dollar-denominated commodities such as oil.

Rob Dobson, senior economist at IHS Markit, said: “The UK manufacturing sector remained on a firm footing in October and should return to growth in the fourth quarter.

“On the positive side, the boost to competitiveness drove new export order inflows higher, providing a key support to output volumes.

“The downside of the weaker currency is becoming increasingly evident, however, with increased import prices leading to one of the steepest rises in purchasing costs in the near 25-year survey history.