The net order book balance among UK manufacturers fell by less than expected with expectations of price rises in the next three months also seen falling from +59 in September to +46 this month – that is the lowest since September last year. It is a positive development but overall sentiment remains gloomy with business optimism in Q4 (-48) sliding to its lowest since April 2020. CBI notes that:
“It’s a tough time for manufacturers. Price pressures remain acute, availability of raw materials is still a big issue.
“It is 49 years since manufacturing firms were this worried about being able to find workers with the skills they need. It’s really no surprise that sentiment has deteriorated further.”