U.K. Factories Expecting March Brexit Stockpiled at Record Pace

(Bloomberg) -- British manufacturers stockpiled at their fastest ever pace in anticipation of a March Brexit, according to a survey published Friday.

Raw materials, work in progress and finished products all surged as firms worried about supply disruptions hoarded goods ahead of the original March 29 deadline to leave the European Union, the Confederation of British Industry said.

But with Brexit potentially delayed until October, stocks are now expected to fall, the business lobby said, and manufacturers remain pessimistic about their prospects over the next year. Investment intentions stayed negative in the three months to April.

Order books were expected to shrink in the near term, with expectations for exports at their weakest for a decade against a backdrop slowing global growth. Cost pressures picked up but few firms expected to be able to raise prices to compensate.

The survey of 270 manufacturers was carried out between March 25 and April 15.

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