[LONDON] British manufacturing order books fell in July and expectations for the next three months were at their lowest since December as Britain's decision to leave the EU hit business confidence, a survey showed.
The Confederation of British Industry's monthly total order book balance from its monthly industrial trends survey fell -4 in July from -2, while a measure of output over the next three months fell to +6 in July from +23 in June.
Quarterly numbers showed total orders in the three months to July rose to +9 from -4 in April, the highest in a year. But a measure of expected new orders fell to 0 in July - its lowest since January 2012.
The quarterly business optimism balance plummeted to -47 from -5, the lowest since January 2009 - around the nadir of the global financial crisis.
"Manufacturers picked up the pace over the second quarter, with output growing solidly," Rain Newton-Smith, CBI Chief Economist, said. "But it's clear that a cloud of uncertainty is hovering over industry, post-Brexit. We see this in weak expectations for new orders, a sharp fall in optimism and a scaling back of investment plans."
There are signs that Britain's vote to leave the European Union is already hurting confidence among businesses, wary of an expected economic slowdown.