November 21, 2017 / 11:15 AM / a year ago

UK factories enjoy best month for new orders since 1988: CBI

A McLaren 720S is assembled on the factory floor of the McLaren Automotive Production Centre Woking, Britain September 12, 2017. REUTERS/Chris J. Ratcliffe/Pool

LONDON, (Reuters) - British factories enjoyed the biggest deluge of new orders in nearly three decades this month, an industry survey showed, adding to signs that the post-Brexit vote fall in the value of sterling is helping manufacturers.

The Confederation of British Industry’s industrial order book balance surged in November to +17 from -2 in October, marking its highest level since August 1988. A Reuters poll of economists had pointed to a reading of +3.

The survey’s gauge of export orders also rocketed, hitting its highest level since June 1995.

The Bank of England hopes that exports by British manufacturers can partially offset lower spending by consumers at home who have been pinched by a rise in inflation following last year’s fall in the value of the pound.

As well as weaker sterling, a rebound in growth in the euro zone and beyond has helped British factories.

“UK manufacturers are once more performing strongly as global growth and the lower level of sterling continue to support demand. Output growth has picked up again, and export order books match the highest in more than 20 years,” said Anna Leach, the CBIs’ head of economic intelligence.

“Nonetheless, uncertainty continues to hold back investment and cost pressures remain strong.”

Despite the strong reading for November, the CBI’s gauge of factory output expectations for the next three months cooled to its lowest since October 2016.

Reporting by Andy Bruce; editing by William Schomberg

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