Economic pressures on industry intensify

New data show that economic pressures on industry are intensifying

Further evidence of rising economic pressures on UK industry has come in a survey showing that manufacturers rated their output prospects as the worst for nearly seven years.

The CBI industrial trend survey for August showed a balance of 13 per cent of firms expecting their volume of output to fall over the next quarter.

This is the worst reading since December 2001, and a deterioration from the 7 per cent recorded in July.

In another sign of tough times for the sector, the survey reported demand for goods also weakened this month, with a balance of 13 per cent judging their order book levels to be "below normal". It is the worst reading since October 2006.

The pressures on activity appear to have had little effect on soaring costs being faced by businesses, with the level of manufacturers expecting price rises in the coming three months still close to the 18-year high recorded in July.

Ian McCafferty, the CBI's chief economic advisor, said: "Manufacturers are becoming more downbeat about forthcoming levels of activity but are still having to raise their prices due to the severity of recent cost increases.

"Domestic conditions remain sluggish and the recent slowdown in the euro zone economies is starting to make conditions tougher for UK manufacturing exporters, although the weaker pound will offer some relief."

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