UK firms reported slower growth in factory orders in October, the Industrial Trends Survey from the Confederation of British Industry showed Monday.
The order book balance fell to -2 percent in October, the lowest since November, from +7 percent in September.
While October’s survey was disappointingly weak, it does not change the picture of the manufacturing sector on course for a better performance than in recent years, Andrew Wishart, an economist at Capital Economics, said.
In three months to October, the order book balance came in at +6 percent. Both domestic and export orders increased at slower pace.
The order book balance was forecast to rise to 20 percent, the highest since April 2015. Likewise, the output growth balance was seen picking up to 19 percent.
The survey showed that optimism about business conditions fell for the first time in a year.
About 12 percent of firms said they were more optimistic about the general business situation than three months ago and 24 percent were less optimistic, giving a balance of -11 percent.
“Growth in output and orders are still above historical norms, and it’s encouraging that plans for spending on innovation and training are holding their own,” Rain Newton-Smith, CBI chief economist, said.
“But we’ve seen a general softening in manufacturing activity over the past three months, with the outlook for investment becoming more subdued,” the economist added.
Source: RTT News