The survey of manufacturers found that total order books were weaker than last month, but that they remain well above average.
Meanwhile, export order books were above average, matching February’s six-month high. The strength was reasonably broad-based, with export orders above average in 12 of the 18 sectors surveyed, while the gap between total and export order books narrowed sharply.
Growth in output volumes recovered from April’s twenty-two month low in May, but remained relatively modest. Expectations for the coming three months are at a similar level to the previous month, remaining somewhat above average.
Manufacturers’ expectations for price inflation are still subdued.
Rain Newton-Smith, CBI Director of Economics, said: “Things are looking up for our manufacturers, with growth continuing and export orders improving.
“Some of this could be down to an improvement in the Eurozone’s momentum – but the strengthening pound is still proving quite a challenge.
“To drive trade progress forwards, we want to see the new Government recommit to an ambitious, long-term export target to fully unlock the UK’s potential. Doing this will be vital to boosting investment, jobs and growth right across the country.”
The key findings of the data are that 34 per cent of firms said the volume of output over the past three months was up and 25 per cent said it was down, giving a balance of +9 per cent. This is a recovery from April’s twenty-two month low and was above average.
Businesses expect output to grow in the coming quarter, with 31 per cent predicting growth, however with 15 per cent predicting this took the rounded balance down to 15 per cent.