LONDON (Reuters) – British factory orders bounced back in November after falling sharply in October, a survey showed, potentially easing concerns about the scale of a slowdown in the economy ahead of Britain’s departure from the European Union in March.
The Confederation of British Industry said its monthly order book balance rose to +10 from -6 in October, the sharpest fall in two years.
November’s reading was stronger than all forecasts in a Reuters poll of economists.
“It’s encouraging to see an improvement in the manufacturing sector after October’s stark survey, with order books and output growth on the up,” Rain Newton-Smith, the CBI’s chief economist, said.
“But the future prosperity of manufacturers depends on getting the Brexit deal right. The overwhelming message from business to the government is to make progress, don’t go backwards.”
British Prime Minister Theresa May last week agreed a withdrawal deal with Brussels that would give the country a transition period for leaving the EU.
But the agreement faces stiff resistance in May’s Conservative Party, meaning it could fail in parliament.
Manufacturing accounts for about 10 percent of total British economic output.
(Writing by William Schomberg, Editing by Paul Sandle)