The CBI's April Trends Survey points to some cooling in industrial sector activity this month although trend developments remain very positive.
At 4 percent, the closely watched orders balance was just a percentage point short of market expectations but 4 percentage points below its reading in March. However, for the latest three months, the balance was a very healthy 25 percent, its highest mark since April 1995 and underpinned by a surge in exports demand which, at 22 percent, recorded its best outturn in three years. Not surprisingly, sterling weakness was a factor here indeed export optimism hit a 20-year peak. Over the same period, domestic orders weighed in at 20 percent, their strongest showing in some twenty-two years.
Meantime, past output (22 percent after 23 percent) was again solid but expected production (16 percent after 36 percent) was seen slowing over the next three months. Prices (29 percent) were expected to rise at much the same pace as last time.
In general, the CBI seems cautiously happy with recent developments. However, it warned about weakening investment plans and again expressed concerns about sharply rising input costs the latest survey finding the steepest increase in six years. In sum, today's results suggest another moderately good manufacturing PMI survey next Tuesday.
The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) produces a monthly survey (and a more detailed quarterly report) analysing the performance of UK manufacturing industry. This is the UK's longest running qualitative business tendency survey. Questions relate to domestic and export orders, stocks, price and output expectations with the main market focus being the domestic orders balance. The survey is seen as a loose leading indicator of the official industrial production data.
Started in 1958, this is the UK's longest-running private sector qualitative business tendency survey. The survey is used by policy makers along with those in the business community, academics and top analysts in financial markets. One of its key strengths is that it is released within ten days and prior to official statistics and includes data not covered by official sources. It is never revised. The data are also used by the European Commission's harmonized business survey of EU countries.
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