UK CBI factory orders rise in March, export orders fall

LONDON Thu Mar 20, 2014 11:14am GMT

An employee works on a 2013 Mini at BMW's plant in Oxford, southern England November 18, 2013. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett

An employee works on a 2013 Mini at BMW's plant in Oxford, southern England November 18, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Suzanne Plunkett

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LONDON (Reuters) - British factory orders rose slightly more than expected in March, the CBI's monthly industrial trends survey showed on Thursday, but export orders fell.

The Confederation of British Industry survey's total order book balance increased this month to +6 from +3 in February, above expectations of a reading of +5.

However, the export order book was -10 from -1 in February, underscoring the challenges of broadening out Britain's consumer-led recovery.

British policymakers want to see a more balanced economic recovery. To that end, Chancellor George Osborne on Wednesday announced tax breaks for manufacturers and lower power bills as part of a 2014 budget.

"The picture in the manufacturing sector remains positive. Overall, demand continues to rise and output growth is robust," said Anna Leach, head of economic analysis at CBI.

"Growth in exports is crucial to rebalancing the economy and ensuring a sustainable recovery... Measures announced in the Budget should help businesses to break into new, faster growing markets and underpin an improvement in the UK's export performance."

(Reporting by Ana Nicolaci da Costa; editing by William Schomberg)

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