LONDON (Reuters) - Factory orders were stronger than expected this month, the CBI's industrial trends survey showed on Wednesday, offering a glimmer of light after grim economic output data for the three months to June.
The Confederation of British Industry survey's total order book balance rose to -6 this month from -11 in June, its highest level since February and countering expectations of a decline to -12.
"Despite a further escalation in the euro zone crisis, the survey shows some resilience in the UK manufacturing sector with sentiment about the general economic situation broadly stable," said CBI head of economic analysis Anna Leach.
"Both demand and production grew steadily in the three months to July and this is expected to continue over the next three months. However, with Europe as our biggest export market and while the euro zone crisis continues unresolved, prospects for UK manufacturing will remain uncertain."
Earlier on Wednesday, the Office for National Statistics reported that GDP contracted by 0.7 percent in the second quarter of 2012, its biggest drop since early 2009, driven in part by a marked drop in factory output.
Reporting by Olesya Dmitracova, writing by David Milliken