British industrialists are planning to step up their output in the coming three months on a scale not seen since February last year.
This finding from the CBI's monthly Industrial Trends survey for June was most marked among makers of intermediate goods - building materials as well as components and parts.
Of the 679 manufacturers taking part in the survey, 31 per cent said they expect to raise the volume of their output over the coming months, while 17 per cent were looking for a cutback.
The resulting balance of 14 per cent is the strongest for 17 months and a marked improvement on a balance of ten per cent in May. Every month this year has pointed to a rising volume of output, with positive balances ranging between ten and 13 per cent.
In other respects, though, the picture from industry remains mixed.
Total order books are no better than in May, with an adverse balance of minus 12 per cent describing theirs as "below normal".
The main shift here is that orders for capital goods have dropped back to "normal" from a clear "above normal" reading in May. This setback was offset by less negative contributions from orders for intermediate and consumer goods.
Export orders slipped back into negative territory, albeit only marginally with an adverse balance of minus three per cent saying these were "below normal".
"The outlook for manufacturing is positive in the short term, driven by export growth and continued strong performance in the eurozone," said CBI chief economic adviser, Ian McCafferty .
"Longer-term prospects, however, are more uncertain for the sector.
"There are some signs of a US slowdown, more volatility in financial markets and profits margins are still under pressure from the relentlessly rising cost base.
"The improvement in domestic demand seen early in the year was not sustained and is yet to return.
"With a more uncertain international picture and without sustained pick-up in UK consumer demand, which translates into more orders for manufacturers, prospects for 2007 look rather more daunting."
Industry's margins remained under pressure from continued increases in the costs manufacturers paid for their fuel and raw materials. In the year to June metals prices have risen by 68 per cent and that of crude oil by 30 per cent, the CBI said.
"Manufacturers are only able to pass on a small proportion of the cost increases they continue to suffer," the employers' organisation added.
"The pace of price rises expected over the coming months - a balance of plus eight per cent - is in line with that seen earlier this year and remains modest."
Stocks of finished goods are rising, too. Industrialists describing their stocks as "more than adequate" outnumbered those saying they were "less than adequate" by 14 per cent, up from a balance of ten per cent in May and seven per cent in April.
Geoffrey Dicks, an economist at the Royal Bank of Scotland, said this was "another fairly upbeat survey".
"Although the total orders balance was unchanged from May and the export orders balance was down three points, the June readings alone are still reasonably strong," he said.
"Overall the June survey points to consolidation at relatively robust readings."