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Order books boost for manufacturers
Hopes that the recession will prove short-lived were boosted after a survey showed manufacturers made a positive start to the second quarter of 2012.
A balance of 8% of manufacturers said orders rose in the three months to April, up from minus 15 when they were last asked in January, the CBI said.
Levels of optimism rose for the first time in a year and were at their highest for two years, while the reading reflecting intentions to invest in plant and machinery was at its strongest since 1997.
The survey will add to optimism over the sector after official figures revealed it failed to return to growth in the first quarter of 2012 and contributed to the UK's slide back into recession.
CBI director-general John Cridland said he was surprised that the economy contracted in the first three months of the year.
He said: "Since the turn of the year, business confidence has improved and, while still challenging, underlying economic conditions also appear to have strengthened."
"Looking forward, there are indications that the economy is slowly recovering from the blow to confidence and activity which resulted from last autumn's turmoil in eurozone financial markets."