CBI trends survey reveals ugly prospects for manufacturing

Ben Southwood
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FACTORIES’ orders collapsed in August with manufacturers expecting months of weak output, according to a survey of UK business trends released yesterday.

A net balance of 21 per cent of manufacturers reported a worse than normal order book in August, collapsing from July’s result, where on net just six per cent reported below normal volumes of orders, the report from the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) showed.

And though 22 per cent of respondents expected increased volumes of output over the next three months, another 22 per cent predicted a decline, as the UK stays mired in its record-long slump.

“Overall demand for manufactured goods has eased back this month, led by a weakening in the consumer goods sector,” said Anna Leach at the CBI.

“The economic environment for UK manufacturers remains challenging, with domestic demand relatively muted and the ongoing Eurozone crisis now seeming to drag on broader global economic momentum,” Leach added.

Nawaz Ali at Western Union warned that the government’s hopes to rescue the ailing economy through export expansion seemed unrealistic.

“The coalition government’s hopes of using export growth to help rebalance Britain’s flagging economy took another blow this morning following CBI’s downcast report on factory activity in August,” Ali said.