UK factories see bigger drop in orders during November, CBI says

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

LONDON (Reuters) - The resurgence of the coronavirus pandemic prompted a sharper fall in new orders for British factories this month, a survey showed on Thursday.

The Confederation of British Industry’s monthly manufacturing order book balance fell to -40 from October’s seven-month high of -34, despite the strongest reading for output since September 2019.

A Reuters poll of economists had pointed to a reading of -39.

“Output volumes have declined at their slowest pace in over a year in our November survey. But order books have softened again as global demand has been hit by intensified lockdowns, and manufacturers have trimmed their expectations,” CBI deputy chief economist Anna Leach said.

“Key to stabilising trading conditions for manufacturing firms will be getting the pandemic under control through further investment in mass testing, ensuring a seamless test and trace system, and an efficient vaccine roll out,” she added.

Reporting by Andy Bruce, editing by David Milliken