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20.02.2019 19:33

UK manufacturers’ order books strengthens modestly in February

The latest survey by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) showed the UK manufacturers’ order books improved slightly in the quarter to February.

According to the report, the CBI's factory order book balance rose to +6 in February 2019 from -1 in the previous month. Economists had expected a drop to -3. This was comfortably above the long-run average (-13).

Reading above 0 indicates optimism, while below indicates pessimism.

At the same time, output volume growth slowed in the three months to February to a pace roughly in line with its long-run average. 27% of businesses said the volume of output over the past three months was up, and 20% said it was down, giving a balance of +7%. This was a slower pace than the one recorded in January (+16%), and the weakest rate of growth since May 2018 (+3%), but still above the historic average (+4%). Looking ahead, manufacturers expect output volumes to grow at a broadly similar pace over the next quarter.

The CBI noted that the UK’s manufacturers continued to be supported by the lower sterling, although weaker global economic momentum means less support for export orders from that front. But the continued threat of a no-deal Brexit remained the biggest risk to the outlook for UK manufacturers. 



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