CBI SME Trends Survey

CBI’s latest quarterly SME Trends Survey

  • Both domestic and export orders among the UK’s small and medium-sized manufacturers fell in the three months to October.
  • Production levels continued to contract modestly, while business sentiment deteriorated for the second consecutive quarter.
  • Prospects for the coming quarter are somewhat better, with output expected to increase slightly and new orders expected to level off.

Weakening total and export orders

Manufacturers report weakening in total and export orders: CBI – Industrial Trends Survey

  • Of  456 manufacturers, 15% reported that order books were above normal, while 36% stated that order levels were below normal. The balance of -21% represents the lowest return since the end of last year (December -23%).
  • Export orders have weakened with manufacturers reporting a balance of  -17%. While still above the long-run average of -21%, this is the lowest figure reported since January 2012 (-26%).
  • Output is expected to be flat over the next three months, following two previous surveys in which manufacturers expected output to increase (June +7%, July +11%).
  • Output prices are also expected to be flat over the coming quarter for the third-consecutive month, with a balance of +1%.
  • Stock levels are below average, with a balance of +9% saying stocks are at least adequate to meet demand, the lowest figure since June 2011 (+3%).

Manufacturing output forecasts

Weaker demand dampens manufacturers’ expectations for output growth – CBI

  • UK manufacturers reported weaker order books in May, and the pace of expected output growth over the next three months has slowed
  • 19% reported total order books to be above normal, while 36% said they were below
  • Export order books are holding up, with 16% of respondents stating that levels were above normal and 29% reporting they were below