Survey: Britain's Manufacturers Suffering Even After Iraq War

By Agence France-Presse Britain's manufacturing sector is still struggling with falling orders and weak output, with no sign of the much-vaunted "Baghdad bounce" after the end of the Iraq war, the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) Quarterly Industrial Trends study showed July 22. Of the almost 900 companies polled, 38% reported a fall in domestic orders while just 14% saw a rise, worse figures than in the last survey in April. Export orders were hit even more severely, with the balance of firms reporting declines against those enjoying rises dipping to its lowest level for 18 months, said the CBI, Britain's leading business advocacy group. Output also dropped, while more than two-thirds of companies said they were working below capacity. "Manufacturers have enjoyed little relief in the three months following the end of conflict in Iraq and the downturn in orders appears relentless despite the recent softening of the pound," said CBI Chief Economic Adviser Ian McCafferty. "Manufacturers' main hope is that a pick-up in the United States later this year helps trigger a gradual recovery in the UK," he said. Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2003

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