LONDON, Aug 21 (Reuters) - British factory orders slumped to the lowest level since December 2011 in August, as demand for consumer goods dropped, the CBI’s monthly industrial trends survey showed on Tuesday.
The Confederation of British Industry survey’s total order book balance fell to -21 this month from -6 in July, well below economists’ expectations of a reading of -8.
The export order book balance fell to -17, the lowest since January, from -9 in July.
The figures dampen hopes that British manufacturing is picking up after a dismal second quarter, during which it fell by 0.9 percent, in part because of an extra public holiday to mark Queen Elizabeth’s 60 years on the throne.
“Overall demand for manufactured goods has eased back this month, led by a weakening in the consumer goods sector, following a strong July figure,” said Anna Leach, CBI’s head of economic analysis.
”This sector also contributed to the weakening in output expectations for the next three months, alongside investment goods.
“The economic environment for UK manufacturers remains challenging, with domestic demand relatively muted, and the ongoing euro zone crisis now seeming to drag on broader global economic momentum,” she added.