CBI reports a sharp deterioration in the volume of export orders

According to the CBI’s latest Industrial Trends Survey (ITS), manufacturers expect output to rise modestly in the three months to September.

They also reported that output volumes were broadly unchanged in the three months to June, after rising for the first time in a year and a half in the quarter to May 2024.

Output increased in only four out of 17 sub-sectors, in the period under review, with growth in the food, drink and tobacco, motor vehicle and transport sector, and plastics and furniture and upholstery sub-sectors broadly offset by falls elsewhere.

Total order books were reported as below “normal” in June but improved sharply relative to last month (-18% from -33%). The level of order books remained slightly below the long-run average (-13%).

Export order books were also seen as below normal and deteriorated relative to last month (-39% from -27%). This was also below the long-run average (-18%) and was the weakest outturn since February 2021.

CBI Lead Economist, Ben Jones, said: “The sharp deterioration in export order books is particularly striking and is something to keep an eye on in the coming months. Whoever forms the Government next week will be inheriting a challenging economic environment. They will need to have a credible plan to deliver sustainable growth.”

Top of the in-tray should be a cutting-edge trade and investment strategy, he suggested, together with a Net Zero Investment Plan and more support for firms to invest in automation and AI.

Back to news