A U.K. factory index rose in December and the outlook at companies for the next three months improved, the Confederation of British Industry said.
A gauge of manufacturing orders rose to minus 12 from minus 21 in November, the U.K.’s biggest business lobby said in a report in London today. The median of 11 forecasts in a Bloomberg News survey was for a reading of minus 15. A measure of manufacturers’ output expectations for the next three months rose to zero from minus 9.
“December’s survey reports a welcome improvement in manufacturers’ order books and their expectations for output,” Anna Leach, the CBI’s head of economic analysis, said in the statement. “Even so, they remain hesitant in predicting further output growth and are keeping stock levels low. Conditions in the sector and the wider economy are likely to remain fragile until global conditions improve over the course of 2013.”
Britain’s budget office cut its economic forecasts last week and said the outlook for the global economy and U.K. exports has “deteriorated.” Bank of England Chief Economist Spencer Dale said in a speech yesterday that Britain was going through a “long and painful” adjustment and that inflation may prove sticky.
The CBI said its index of export orders was minus 11 compared with minus 12 in November. Manufacturers’ expectations for output-price inflation over the next three months picked up in December to 17 -- the highest in nine months -- from 8. Nine of 11 sectors reported an increase in inflation expectations, led by building materials, metal manufacture and food and drink, it said.
The CBI conducted the survey of 392 manufacturers between Nov. 22 and Dec. 7.
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