LONDON – British manufacturing output suffered its biggest decline since 2009 in the three months to March, but production was expected to rebound over the next three months.
The Confederation of British Industry’s monthly survey showed manufacturing output volumes fell to -15 in the three months to March from 0 in February.
By contrast, expectations for output for the next three months rebounded to +23 from +11, its highest level in 13 months.
The monthly total order book balance improved slightly to -14, as expected in a Reuters poll of economists, from -17 in February. Export orders were unchanged in the three months to March at – 19.
“Whilst total order and export books remained steady, a drop in output reflected some volatility in the food and drink sector. Reassuringly, manufacturers expect a swift turnaround in activity, ” Rain Newton-Smith, director of economics at CBI, said.
Output in manufacturing saw its first increase for four months in January, official data showed earlier this month.