Figures show the pace of recovery is slowing

factory orders slowed more than expected in July and growth expectations also eased, a latest sign that the pace of recovery in manufacturing has lost a bit of steam, the Confederation of British Industry said yesterday.

The CBI survey’s monthly total order book balance slowed to +2 this month from +11 in June and was below expectations for a balance of +8.

Outside the often volatile monthly numbers, total new orders for the quarter ending in July rose to +24 from +21 in April – their highest level since 1995.

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But the balance for export orders in July alone fell to -16 from -2 in June – its lowest since January – dampening hopes that exports will help to balance out the consumer-led rebound in the economy.

The numbers are in keeping with some recent official data. Factory output unexpectedly slumped in May, raising questions about whether the country’s strong economic recovery can maintain its pace.

Katja Hall, CBI deputy director-general, said British industry was performing well but there were still risks to the recovery.

“It is not all plain sailing,” she said. “(Risks) include increasing international political instability, and the recent rise in sterling, which could be weighing on exports.”

Output growth expectations for the next three months decreased to +26 in July from +32 in June, but remained well above a long-run average of +7.