The survey of more than 400 manufacturers found that their total orders and export order books had changed little in the past month and were in line with their long-run averages. The firms are still expecting a modest expansion in output over the coming three months, but they are less upbeat than they were a few months ago.
“Manufacturers are treading water with domestic and export orders stagnant,” reports the CBI’s director of economics, Stephen Gifford. “Production levels remain flat, but firms predict a modest pick-up over the coming three months. While an expected improvement in conditions at home and abroad should lead to better prospects for manufacturers, the business climate still remains quite fragile.”
Small and medium-sized firms have struggled to maintain export orders which were at their lowest levels since January 2010. However, they reported a stabilisation in production after 11 months of falling output.