Domestic demand for the engineering industries weakened during the three months to July 1998 with a drop of 3.2% compared with the previous three months.
The export position was stronger, growing 2.1%, but this was not enough to stop total engineering turnover slipping 0.9%. Orders on hand at the end of the three months to July fell by 0.2%.
Machinery and equipment producers were hit by falling domestic demand (down 3.4%) and a slight dip in export sales.
The outlook is also gloomy, with total orders on hand at the end of the three months to July 5% lower than at the end of the previous three months.
The latest index of production, with figures for the three months to the end of August, shows output in manufacturing during this period rose 0.3% compared with the previous three months.
Almost half of the manufacturing industries have seen increases in production, led by a rise of 3.1% in the transport equipment industries, 1.5% in the rubber and plastic products equipment industries, and a similar rise in chemicals and man-made fibres.
But between July and August, manufacturing output fell by 0.5% with decreases in most industrial sectors.