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Order books, current sales, and sales margins have all remained in positive territory since the last CBA Trends Survey three months ago (March 2018). Current sales margins are weak and the outlook, over the next three months, for future sales margins has turned negative. Employment levels are forecast to increase over the next three months.

The CBA’s latest on-line Trends Survey was conducted during the two weeks, 4-18 June 2018, and is based on responses from 50 member companies.


CBA’s Supply Chain Trends Survey asks companies to provide information on order books, sales, sales margins, and employment, on a ‘better–worse–same’ basis. To measure short-term trends, the analysis ignores responses answering ‘same’ and focuses on the positive or negative balance provided by the difference between the ‘better-worse’ responses.

CURRENT ORDER BOOKS – Positive trend continues

Members are asked if their order books are better, worse, or the same than in the previous three months. The June survey shows a positive balance of +32%, marginally higher than the positive balance in the March 2018 survey (+27%). These figures remain low by the standards of previous surveys.

SALES VOLUMES – current sales stable; future sales losing momentum

Respondents are asked to compare their current sales volumes with the preceding three months and indicate their expectations for the next three months. Current sales volumes continue to show a positive balance of +27% – marginally lower than three months ago (+29%). Future sales trends, though remaining in positive territory, have lost momentum at +17% – similar to levels reported in March 2018 (18%).

SALES MARGINS – current margins weak, outlook negative

Companies are asked to compare their current sales margins with the preceding three months and forecast their trend over the coming three months. Current sales margins remain weak though generating a positive balance of responses, at +8%. Margins are expected to weaken over the next three months generating a negative balance of -8%.

EMPLOYMENT – firmly positive

Member companies were asked if their employment levels and investment in training would be higher, lower, or remain the same over the next three months. Trends for employment at +28% remain firmly positive.