UK factories suffer new hit to orders, cut investment plans – CBI

LONDON (Reuters) – British manufacturers were hit with a fresh drop in orders and have scaled back their investment plans, a survey showed on Wednesday, shortly after separate data also laid bare the problems facing the country’s factories.

The Confederation of British Industry’s quarterly order book balance dropped to -13 in the three months to January, its lowest since July 2020. A measure of expected new orders held at -1, unchanged from the last CBI quarterly survey in October.

Investment in tangible assets such as buildings, machinery, equipment was expected to fall sharply in the year ahead and investment in innovation was also expected to weaken.

“Conditions in the manufacturing sector deteriorated unexpectedly at the start of the year, with output falling and order books at their weakest since the depths of the COVID-19 pandemic,” CBI Deputy Chief Economist Anna Leach said.

(Reporting by William Schomberg; editing by David Milliken)