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UK small biz gets sterling boost, no thanks to banks

Not drowning but waving

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Demand from home and overseas customers is helping UK small and medium manufacturers, but getting credit from banks is still a nightmare.

The CBI's quarterly survey found 36 per cent of companies had seen a jump in orders in the first three months of the year, compared to 26 per cent which reported a fall in orders. The plus ten per cent difference is the first significant positive balance since January 2008.

Better than expected export orders were fuelled by the weak pound - a balance of 18 per cent of companies said exports were up. Orders from customers within the UK have at least stopped falling.

Although margins are under attack - 21 per cent of firms said average unit costs were rising - domestic prices have stopped falling after five quarters of shrinking prices.

A balance of 12 per cent of companies said access to credit would limit export orders.

More figures from the CBI here. ®

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