UK steel stockists were given further cause for celebration this week, with the latest CBI Industrial Trends survey showing positive figures for order books throughout the manufacturing sector.

A total of 380 manufacturers were surveyed for the February 2014 report, which revealed one of the strongest output growth rates since records began in the mid-1970s.

In all, 26% of firms said their order books were above normal, compared with 23% who said they were below normal – a net positive figure of 3%.

This is an improvement on January, which saw a net figure of -2%, and while December’s +12% was much higher, February is still well above the long-term average of -17%.

A substantial 41% of firms saw an increase in output volume, with 17% reporting a decline, for a net balance of +24%.

CBI head of economic analysis Anna Leach said: “The manufacturing sector shows continued signs of improvement with demand high and steady and output growing strongly.

“Growth is increasingly broad-based and firms’ growth expectations are the highest for several months.”

All of this is good news, not only for UK steel stockists, but for anyone involved in the manufacturing supply chain – both domestically and for the export market.