LONDON (Reuters) - Factory orders unexpectedly fell in July at their sharpest rate since the start of the year as exports took a knock, a survey showed on Tuesday.
The Confederation of British Industry said its monthly manufacturing order books balance fell to -6 from +8 in June. Analysts had expected a reading of +6.
Firms were also less confident about putting up prices, something which may give succour to Bank of England policymakers worried about inflation. The price expectations balance fell to +11 from +16 in June, the lowest reading since December.
Manufacturing companies are also expecting to raise output at the slowest rate since November with the balance fading to +10 in July from +25 in the month before.
And there were signs that the pound’s rise to 26-year peaks against the dollar, and a range of other factors, may be denting exporters’ prospects with their order books balance falling to -8 from 0.
“UK exports had been resolute in the face of a strong pound for a number of months but a combination of a slower U.S. economy and sharp increases in the price of oil, commodities and freight is beginning to tell for exporters,” said Ian McCafferty, chief economic adviser.