UK manufacturing remains ‘severely depressed’, CBI survey shows

FILE PHOTO: A staff member works at PALLITE, a designer and manufacturer of social distancing screens and desks from recyclable paper board, amid the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Wellingborough, Britain, July 20, 2020. REUTERS/Andrew Boyers/File Photo

LONDON (Reuters) – British manufacturing remains “severely depressed”, with new orders still well below normal, according to a survey on Friday that shows a very weak recovery is underway.

The Confederation of British Industry’s monthly order book balance rose to -44 in August from -46 in July. A Reuters poll of economists had pointed to a bigger rise to -35.

While marking the highest level since March, the survey showed the proportion of manufacturers reporting below-normal levels of orders still outnumbered those reporting above-normal orders by a wide margin.

“This has been another difficult month for manufacturers,” said Anna Leach, CBI deputy chief economist.

“Activity continues to be poor and order books severely depressed, although the worst of the decline seems to be behind us,” she added.

Earlier the IHS Markit/CIPS survey of manufacturers showed month-on-month growth in activity accelerated in August to hit a 2-1/2-year high, though heavy job losses were underway.

Reporting by Andy Bruce, editing by David Milliken

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