Factory Orders 'At Their Best Since 1995'
Manufacturing orders placed with factories have expanded at the strongest rate since 1995, a new survey has shown.
The results come as the Bank of England said Britain's economic recovery was "building momentum".
According to the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), its industrial trends survey showed that in the last quarter international and domestic orders were at there strongest for nearly two decades.
The CBI said export growth was strong while investment intentions for the next 12 months were "particularly robust".
The strengthening position comes as the job rate continues to rise and is now at its best rate for nearly three years.
The CBI's survey of 405 companies found that manufacturers' business optimist saw the sharpest increase for four decades.
It said 38% of firms revealed total orders increasing while 17% saw a decrease - a net increase of 21%.
The positive balance for new home market orders was 17% - the highest since April 1995.
According to the trade body, last month's figures revealed a slight easing of the position.
CBI chief policy director Katja Hall said: "Confidence is rapidly rising among British manufacturers, with a real sense of business optimism.
"Our industrial base is seizing a bigger role in the UK's economic recovery, with output, orders and hiring all on the up.
"There are still bumps in the road ahead, with only a tepid recovery likely in the eurozone, the pound creeping higher and a rapidly-evolving situation in Ukraine.
"However, expectations for growth in the coming three months are positive and manufacturers plan to significantly ramp up investment in the year ahead."
The survey was released on the same day as the minutes from the latest meeting of the Bank of England's rate-setting Monetary Policy Committee (MPC).
The MPC estimated growth for the first quarter at 1% and said: "Business investment was estimated to have grown by 8.5% in the year to 2013 Q4.
"The refocusing of the (Funding for Lending Scheme) was expected to support capital spending over the coming year."