UK manufacturers’ overall output volumes have tumbled in the latest three months at the fastest pace since September 2009, amid Brexit uncertainty, a key survey shows.

Subtracting the proportion reporting a rise from that posting a drop, a balance of 16% of manufacturers recorded a fall in output volumes over the latest three months, in the Confederation of British Industry survey.

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This signalled a faster drop than the balance of 9% reporting a fall in output volumes for the three months to November. A balance of 1% had recorded a rise in output volumes over the three months to September.

The survey shows manufacturers’ order books are weak.

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A net 35% of manufacturers reported that their export order books were below normal in the survey, which was conducted between November 22 and December 11. This marked a significant deterioration from the net 22% reporting below-normal export order books in the previous monthly survey.

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A balance of 28% said total order books were below normal. In the previous survey, a net 26% reported such a position.

CBI deputy chief economist Anna Leach said: “With manufacturers reporting that output is declining at a pace not seen since the financial crisis, alongside another month of softer order books, it is crucially important to rebuild business confidence in this sector.”

Tom Crotty of Ineos, chairman of the CBI manufacturing council, said: “These disappointing figures are reflective of the widespread weakness in the global manufacturing sector and the impact of continued Brexit uncertainty in the run-up to the General Election.”