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UK manufacturing outlook lowest since 2009

By Ramla Soni

Slowing global economy and Brexit uncertainty has led to fall in manufacturing

Manufacturing output in the UK continued to fall in the quarter to October, largely because of a significant decline in the motor vehicles and transport equipment sub-sector, according to the Confederation of British Industry’s (CBI) latest quarterly Industrial Trends Survey.

The CBI said its manufacturing orders balance sank to -19 in October from +10 in July, the lowest since April 2009.

Manufacturers expect output volumes to fall at a faster rate in the next three months (-16 per cent).

Business optimism took a huge toll in the three months to October (-44 per cent from -32 per cent in July), falling at the fastest pace since July 2016 and optimism about exports for the year ahead deteriorated to the greatest degree in 18 years.

Investment intentions also worsened, with plans to spend on buildings (-44 per cent), plant and machinery (-34 per cent) and training and retraining (-28 per cent) at their most negative since 2008.

Brexit uncertainty weighed heavily on export prospects, with the proportion of firms citing political/economic conditions abroad as a factor limiting exports over the next quarter hitting a survey record high.

Stocks of raw materials (+9 per cent) grew at a broadly similar pace to July (+10 per cent), well down on the April high (+39 per cent).

Both stocks of work in progress and finished goods were roughly flat (0 per cent and -3 per cent, respectively).

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