Manufacturing on `brink of decline’, warns CBI

UK manufacturing’s slow recovery has gone into reverse, according to a survey released this week by the Confederation of British Industry.

Order levels, export expectations and optimism are all lower than at the start of the year and the rate of job losses is expected to increase.

Nick Reilly, chairman of Vauxhall Motors and head of the CBI’s economic affairs committee, said: `These results are depressing and send an ominous signal. They suggest that the hoped-for recovery has stalled and that manufacturing is on the brink of a decline, pushed by the strength of sterling.’

Previous CBI industrial trends surveys showed an overall improvement in the manufacturing sector’s performance between late 1999 and early 2000. However, this week’s survey found that 22% of manufacturers were less optimistic than four months ago, compared with 20% who were more optimistic, giving a difference of -2% – the first negative score since April last year.

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