Manufacturing demand weakens
OVERALL demand for UK manufactured goods weakened a little in June, after a significant improvement in May, but total order book levels are still close to their long-term average. In the latest CBI monthly Industrial Trends Survey, 19 per cent of manufacturers said that total orders were above normal, while 42 per cent said they were below. The resulting balance of -23 per cent is down slightly on the figure in May (-18 per cent), but does not reverse the improving trend of recent months, and the balance is still quite close to the long-term average (-18 per cent). Export order books were also a little weaker compared with last month. Nevertheless, the balance of -2 per cent shows that export orders are still considered to be broadly normal. Manufacturers still expect to raise output firmly during the next three months, with a net 15 per cent expecting production to rise. This is broadly unchanged on May’s balance of +17 per cent, and is well above the long-term average of +5 per cent.