Manufacturers expect output to rise over the next four months, according to the CBI’s latest Monthly Trends survey. The balance of economic optimists minus pessimists is down from its 15% level in May, but is still higher than at any other time in the past year.
But the expected upturn for manufacturers did not happen in June. Order books were 25% below normal, down from 21% in May. Export orders remain weak, with 52% of manufacturers reporting export orders below normal and only 10% above normal.
The survey suggests that downward pressure on prices may start to ease, with the least negative price expectations since May last year.
Meanwhile, a report by cost consultant National Utility Services says UK companies pay about the world average for electricity, but could pay less if the electricity pool was reformed.
The report says Italian businesses pay the most for electricity. But a reduction in tariffs saw Italian electricity prices fall 12% between 1998 and 1999.
Prices in Sweden fell 20% between 1998 and 1999 and are the lowest among the countries surveyed. This is partly because of increased consumer awareness and the introduction of a Nordic electricity pool.
Copyright: Centaur Communications Limited