CBI reveals deterioration in manufacturers’ order books

UK manufacturers reported a deterioration in both their total and export order books in August, while expectations for output growth have flattened, according to the CBI.

Of the 456 manufacturers responding to the latest monthly Industrial Trends Survey, 15 per cent said that order books were above normal, while 36 per cent reported that order levels were below normal. The balance of -21 per cent represents the lowest return since the end of last year (December -23 per cent).

Similarly, export orders have weakened, with manufacturers reporting a balance of -17 per cent. While still above the long-run average of -21 per cent, this is the lowest figure reported since January 2012 (-26 per cent).

Prospects for manufacturers’ output growth over the course of the next three months have softened. Output is expected to be flat over the next three months (zero per cent), following two previous surveys in which manufacturers expected output to increase (June +7 per cent; July +11 per cent).

Output prices are expected to be flat over the coming quarter for the third consecutive month, with a balance of +1 per cent.

Stock levels are below average, with a balance of +9 per cent saying stocks are at least adequate to meet demand — the lowest figure since June 2011 (+3 per cent).