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UK manufacturing sector stuck in decline, CBI says

Staff writer ▼ | March 22, 2016
UK manufacturing sector remained stuck in the doldrums in March, according to the CBI Industrial Trends survey, with factory output falling at the fastest pace in more than six years.
UK manufacturing
Britain   A survey of total order books in March
A survey of total order books in March found a negative balance of -14%, with 34% of businesses revealing order books were below normal and 20% reporting they were above normal.

This balance compares to the -17% in February and -15% in January.

Expectations are that average selling prices were will fall 1% over the next three months, a slight firming from the 3% estimate found a month ago.

The CBI survey, which polled 471 manufacturers around the country, output volumes over the three months to March fell at the fastest pace since September 2009, with eight of the 18 manufacturing sub-sectors posting a decline in output.

Weakness in the food and drink sector was blamed for two-thirds of this decline relative to February, with the CBI saying "localised flooding and mild weather potentially having hit production".

Rain Newton-Smith, CBI director of economics, said it had been a mixed month for the sector but optimism was there for a rebound.

Manufacturers were found to be anticipating a particularly strong rise in output over the next quarter, with a rebound in food and drink leading to 39% of firms predicting growth and 16% a decline. The resulting balance of 23% is the highest level in thirteen months.

Export orders showed little sign of improvement, remaining flat at February's -19%.