UK factory output slides in three months to December at fastest rate since 2009 - CBI

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LONDON, Reuters) - - British factory output fell at the fastest pace in more than 10 years during the three months leading up to Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s election victory, underscoring the challenge he faces to boost the economy.

The Confederation of British Industry’s gauge of manufacturing output over the three months to December fell to -16 from -9 in November, its weakest reading since September 2009.

Inflows of new work also deteriorated as the CBI’s monthly order book balance fell to -28 from -26.

The survey of 289 manufacturers covered Nov. 22 to Dec. 11, just before Johnson chalked up a comprehensive victory in last Thursday’s election.

Other surveys have also shown Britain’s manufacturers have struggled in recent months against a global drop in demand, as well as uncertainty surrounding Brexit and the election.

“With manufacturers reporting that output is declining at a pace not seen since the financial crisis, alongside another month of softer order books, it is crucially important to rebuild business confidence in this sector,” CBI deputy chief economist Anna Leach said.

“After three years of gridlock, the Prime Minister now has a clear mandate to govern. Businesses across the UK will want him to break the cycle of uncertainty,” she added.

The survey showed export orders declined at one of the fastest rates since the financial crisis.

Reporting by Andy Bruce and David Milliken