May CBI survey reveals weaker order books for manufacturers

UK manufacturers reported weaker order books in May and the pace of expected output growth over the next three months has slowed, according to the CBI.

Of the 451 manufacturers responding to the latest monthly Industrial Trends Survey, 19 per cent reported total order books to be above normal, while 36 per cent said they were below.

The resulting rounded balance of -17 per cent is in line with its long-run average (-17 per cent), but order-book levels have softened relative to the past three months.  

However, export order books are holding up, with 16 per cent of respondents stating that levels were above normal and 29 per cent reporting they were below, giving a rounded balance of -12 per cent, which remains above the long-run average (-21 per cent).

As a result of softer order books, output growth is expected to slow, with manufacturers anticipating that production will be broadly unchanged over the coming three months (a balance of -3 per cent). Relative to April, manufacturers expect output price inflation to be slightly firmer in coming months, at a similar pace to earlier in the year.