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UK factory orders weakest since November 2016 as global economy cools - CBI

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UK factory orders weakest since November 2016 as global economy cools - CBI
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By Andy Bruce and William Schomberg

LONDON, May 22 (Reuters) – British factory orders declined in May to their lowest level since late 2016, according to a survey that added to signs that manufacturing has weakened from last year as the world economy lost some of its momentum.

The Confederation of British Industry’s (CBI) monthly order book balance fell to -3 from +4 in April and was weaker than a median forecast of +2 in a Reuters poll of economists.

Nonetheless, the CBI gauge remains above its long-run average of -14.

Factories enjoyed strong growth in 2017, helped by a rise in demand for exports after a fall in the value of the pound that was caused by the 2016 Brexit vote.

But Britain’s manufacturing sector — which accounts for about 10 percent of the overall economy — has slowed this year.

“UK manufacturing has lost some steam since the start of the year, on the back of a softening in both domestic and global growth,” the CBI’s head of economic intelligence Anna Leach said.

“While global economic growth — particularly in the EU — has disappointed in the first quarter of the year, demand from overseas continues to shore up manufacturing activity in the UK, with export order books remaining well above historical average.”

(Reporting by Andy Bruce and William Schomberg)

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