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Manufacturing output in UK stable in latest quarter

Staff writer ▼ | April 26, 2016
The manufacturing sector's output was stable in the three months to April, according to the CBI's quarterly Industrial Trends Survey.
UK workers
Britain   Total new orders fell at 25% of the 472 manufacturers
Total new orders fell at 25% of the 472 manufacturers surveyed while 21% of business reported an increase, leading to a balance of -4%, the same level as the previous quarter.

CBI said the balance of total new orders reflected a drop in export orders to a balance of -7% from -2% and a slight rise in the balance for new domestic orders to -2% from -3%.

The number of people employed rose to a balance of +5 in the latest quarter from +3 in the three months to January.

Average unit costs increased at the fastest pace in two years to a balance of +8% compared to the previous quarter's -6%. CBI said firms found it difficult to pass on increased costs as domestic and export prices continued to fall.

Optimism among manufacturing businesses decreased slightly to a balance of -5% from -4% the previous quarter, with 14% of firms saying they were more confident during the period and 19% saying there were less positive.

Looking ahead to the next quarter, 27% of manufacturers expect total new orders to increase and 13% expect them to fall, meaning the balance jumped to +14% in the quarter to April from +8% in the quarter to January.

The number of firms citing political and economic conditions abroad as a constraint on export orders in the coming three months climbed to +31% from +25% in the last quarter.