Industrial Trends Survey shows manufacturing activity continues to weaken

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27th March 2019 11:12 - Industrial

Industrial Trends Survey shows manufacturing activity continues to weaken: A survey of manufacturers has revealed output growth recorded in the quarter to March 2019 is at the weakest level since May 2018.

The CBI Industrial Trends Survey polled 358 manufacturers and found output volumes weakened slightly in the weeks up to March.

It also found a quarter of manufacturers have been stockpiling due to Brexit uncertainty and others reported a decline in investment and demand of goods as well as reduction of export orders.

The poll found just over a quarter of manufacturers (27%) reported that their order books were above normal, with slightly less reporting they were less than normal (26%) giving a balance of =1% (+ 6% in Feb 2019).

When asked about their export order books 28% of companies said they were above normal. A fifth (20%) reported export order books were below normal giving a balance of +8% (above the long-run average of 17% and stronger than February (+1%).

Looking forward to the next quarter almost three in ten firms (29%) are expecting output to increase, with 22% predicting a decline.

The expectations for an increase in average selling price over the course of the next few months were found to be at their slowest since September 2016.

Anna Leach, CBI Head of Economic Intelligence, said:

“The manufacturing sector has slowed again this month and is now barely growing. Brexit uncertainty is one of the biggest threats to growth in the UK manufacturing sector – both current and future – as firms prioritise stockpiling goods over investing in the future of their business.

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