British manufacturing orders declined in July at the weakest rate this year, while expectations for increases in selling prices cooled further, an industry survey showed on Tuesday.
The Confederation of British Industry's monthly balance of new orders rose this month to -9 from -15 in June, the highest reading since December and above its long-run average of -13.
Its gauge of output for the past three months also turned positive for the first time this year as optimism - based on a quarterly reading of the CBI survey - rose to its highest level seen in two years.
The CBI's findings contrasted with the closely-watched S&P Global business survey of manufacturers published on Monday, which showed a deepening downturn.
"While there are reasons for optimism among manufacturers this quarter, the overall picture is still subdued," said CBI lead economist Ben Jones.
Although the survey's monthly gauge of expected output prices eased to its lowest level to February 2021, the CBI still described cost pressures as acute.
"There are worrying signs that a squeeze on margins and higher finance costs are now hitting investment plans," Jones said.
Quarterly investment intentions for plant and machinery fell to their lowest level since January 2021. (Reporting by Andy Bruce; editing by David Milliken)