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Pound proves heavy burden on exporters

Sterling Cash

An industrial trends survey by the CBI has revealed the extent to which UK factories have been hurt by the strengthening pound and continuing problems in the Eurozone, with manufacturing orders flat lining unexpectedly in March. Weak export demand pushed the total orders balance down to zero, the lowest rate since October last year, but domestic demand proved resilient and overall factory performance was better than the average of the past 20 years. Fifteen of the report's 18 sub-sectors also reported stronger-than-average orders. The survey of 468 manufacturers found that 35% of respondents have export order books below normal, against 10% that said they were above, giving a rounded balance of -26%, the lowest reading since January 2013. Domestically, a net 22% of manufacturers expect to raise production in the next three months. This was slightly down from 25% in February, but significantly above the 7% average.

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