Outlook grim as factory orders fall sharply in November

An assembly worker in a file photo. REUTERS/File

LONDON (Reuters) - Factory orders continued to fall sharply in November and manufacturers are their most gloomy about future output in nearly 30 years, a survey showed on Wednesday.

The Confederation of British Industry’s monthly Industrial Trends survey showed the factory orders balance picked up slightly to -38 from -39 in October.

That was a touch better than analyst forecasts for a reading of -41 but still indicative of a steep contraction in demand.

The balance measuring companies’ expectations for output over the coming months fell to -42 in November from -31 in October, the lowest reading since September 1980.

The figures are likely to reinforce expectations the economy is sliding into recession and could contract for much of next year, resulting in further falls in interest rates.

“With a sharper and more prolonged UK recession in prospect, conditions are going to remain tough for some time,” said Ian McCafferty, economic adviser to the CBI.

The price expectations balance fell to zero this month from +10 in October, the weakest reading since May 2006.

The survey was conducted between October 23 and November 12.