In the three months to July, manufacturers’ total new orders grew at the slowest rate since last autumn, with export order volumes falling noticeably for the first time in 18 months. Demand growth remains above average, however, when compared to the last decade.

Firms’ total order book levels have also dropped, relative to ‘normal’, after a run of improving responses (from +2% in April, +5% in May and +8% in June to -6% in July). Export order book levels also eased (a balance of -8%).

Prices of manufactured goods continued to rise, but more slowly than in January or April. And with costs reported to have risen as rapidly as in October, manufacturers were not able to repair profit margins as previously. Export prices remained broadly unchanged.