Slowdown in decline but manufacturing still suffers

Manufacturing
is still on the ropes despite a fightback by smaller firms in the past quarter.

The
latest figures from the CBI, published today, show that while orders, output
and employment have all continued to fall, the rate of decline has slowed in
smaller manufacturing companies.

But
the employers organisation believes the Bank of England could have helped the
situation by dropping interest rates.

Forty
per cent of smaller manufaturers said orders were down in the past four months,
37 per cent said output was down and most firms are pessimistic about the
outlook for the year ahead.

Chair
of the CBI’s SME Council Simon Bartley said: “Smaller manufacturers are
fighting immensely hard against a debilitating downturn. The slowing decline of
demand may encourage firms slightly, but there will be widespread
disappointment that the Bank of England left interest rates on hold last week.”

Bartley
claimed the decision to leave interest rates unchanged was a “missed
opportunity to give companies a confidence boost”.

However,
he was confident that the bank would lower interest rates next month.

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