Manufacturing growth grinds to a halt as foreign demand deteriorates

Sam DumMANUFACTURING output growth has stalled this month for the first time since February 2013 as export orders fell to a six month low, according to survey data released by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) yesterday.

Rising output growth was seen by 26 per cent of firms in the three months to September, while 25 per cent reported output falling, giving a rounded balance of zero. The number of manufacturers expecting to increase production in the next three months fell to its lowest level since October 2013.

Exports are being held back by the continued strength of the pound and concerns that global growth may be hit by a slowdown in emerging markets.

“Exports are the missing link in the UK recovery at the moment, with the strong pound squeezing manufacturers’ margins, even though lower commodity prices are helping to ease cost pressures,” said CBI director of economics Rain Newton-Smith.

Manufacturing output is unlikely to contribute much to GDP growth in the three months to September, with analysts fearing that it could contract again after a 0.3 per cent fall in the three months to June. A survey of manufacturers from Markit has also shown weak growth over summer.