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UK manufacturing order growth slows in October

Staff Writer | October 23, 2017
UK firms reported slower growth in factory orders in October, the Industrial Trends Survey from the Confederation of British Industry showed.
UK manufacturing
Britain   A general softening
The order book balance fell to -2% in October, the lowest since November, from +7% in September.

While October's survey was disappointingly weak, it does not change the picture of the manufacturing sector on course for a better performance than in recent years, Andrew Wishart, an economist at Capital Economics, said.

In three months to October, the order book balance came in at +6%. Both domestic and export orders increased at slower pace.

The order book balance was forecast to rise to 20%, the highest since April 2015. Likewise, the output growth balance was seen picking up to 19%.

The survey showed that optimism about business conditions fell for the first time in a year.

About 12% of firms said they were more optimistic about the general business situation than three months ago and 24% were less optimistic, giving a balance of -11%.

"Growth in output and orders are still above historical norms, and it's encouraging that plans for spending on innovation and training are holding their own," Rain Newton-Smith, CBI chief economist, said.

"But we've seen a general softening in manufacturing activity over the past three months, with the outlook for investment becoming more subdued," the economist added.