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UK manufacturing getting worse more slowly

'Muted recovery'

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UK manufacturing is showing some signs of improvement in export orders, thanks to the weak pound, but total orders remain low.

Export orders are higher than normal at 14 per cent of firms but below normal at 38 per cent of companies, according to a CBI survey. That gives a balance of -23 per cent - which is the least negative result since August 2008.

But total orders are not looking so cheerful - only 10 per cent of companies said orders were higher than normal and 46 per cent said they were lower than normal - a slight improvement on last month's results and the least negative since December 2008.

Ian McCafferty, chief economic adviser at the lobby group, said overall demand remained feeble despite the export figures.

Researchers for the CBI spoke to 548 manufacturing companies.

The CBI also said that government borrowing for January meant we were likely to end the year with a £180bn deficit. It called for a commitment from all the major political parties to "set out a clear and credible path to a balanced budget by 2015."

The group said this would require cuts in government spending "timed in a way that does not stall economic recovery."

The CBI press release is here. ®

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