The UK economy “limped through the final quarter of 2019” with manufacturers left “listless”, according to a survey published by the British Chamber of Commerce (BCC).
UK manufacturers reported negative export and domestic orders over the second half of 2019. It is the first time two consecutive quarters have reported negative growth since the recessions of 2009 and 2011.
Suren Thiru, head of economics at the BCC, said: “Despite some improvements, indicators in the manufacturing sector remain very weak by historic standards, and with indicators for domestic and export orders continuing to contract, the near-term outlook for the sector remains challenging.”
The balance of firms reporting increased domestic sales rose from 0 in Q3 2019, to +4 on the BCC index.
Those reporting increased domestic orders rose from -7 to -1, the first time since Q4 2011 that this indicator has been negative for two consecutive quarters.
The balance of firms reporting improved export sales rose from +3 to +4.
The balance of firms reporting increased export orders was unchanged at -3. Again, this is the first time since Q3 2009 that this indicator has been negative for two consecutive quarters.
“A faltering service sector together with listless manufacturing activity points to a downbeat outturn for UK GDP growth in the fourth quarter of 2019,” Thiru added.