There has also been a decline in the confidence index, which is based on the expectation of investment in buildings and plant and machinery, for both producers and non-producers decreased on 2010, with the producers showing a greater decrease than non-producers.
Any capital expenditure on buildings, plant or machinery in 2011 is likely to be driven by the need for replacement or to increase efficiency/productivity. The factor most likely to limit any capital expenditure is an inadequate return on investment.
The market is largely (85%) operating at between 71% and 100% capacity, with half of these (43%) operating at 91% or higher.
Competitiveness with other UK, EU and global businesses operating in the same sector has largely remained the same over the last 12 months, and where there has been a change, competitiveness against other UK and EU businesses has shown an improvement rather than a worsening.
The competitive outlook for the next 12 months is less optimistic, and whilst there is still a strong feeling that competitiveness will remain unchanged, in all markets any worsening is expected to exceed improvement.
The factors most likely to limit output over the next 12 months are plant or building capacity, raw materials and orders or sales.
Average selling prices over the last three months are largely down on the same period 12 months ago.