UK suppliers across all sectors are more confident about the coming year and are expecting output to grow significantly, according to Picon’s survey for the final quarter of 2003. Business confidence amongst suppliers has risen to a positive balance of 34 per cent, the highest recorded response since the survey began in 1998.

John Brazier, Picon’s chief executive says: “The research shows that the general trading conditions will remain tough for UK suppliers in 2004, but the reported rise in capital expenditure by UK printers suggests that, at home at least, conditions are improving slowly.”

Respondents indicated that domestic orders are at their highest level since the fourth quarter 2002. Forty per cent of companies believe output will rise in the first quarter 2004. Export confidence continues to be positive albeit weak, with 21 per cent of companies more confident.

However, the converting and presses/finishing sectors are less confident overall, suffering from unfavourable exchange rates and the inability to implement competitive pricing.



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