A seven per cent drop in the price of oil since early October has failed to take the pressure off the margins of British manufacturers.
At the same time, sagging demand at home offset the benefit of the best flow of export orders this year, leaving total order books subdued - where they have been every month since March.
These findings from the CBI's November monthly trends inquiry are drawn from replies by 683 industrialists.
"Manufacturers have faced an extremely challenging year and the latest figures show no overall improvement over the last month," commented Ian McCafferty, the CBI's chief economic adviser.
"Robust demand internationally has lifted export figures, but this has been offset by a deterioration in domestic orders, which is a real concern.
"Over the past month, producers have benefited a little as the cost of oil has slipped back, but manufacturers' profit margins remain under pressure, with more firms expecting to cut prices than raise them in the months ahead."
Although 18 per cent of the respondents said they expect to lower their prices in the home market in the coming three months and only 13 per cent saw a prospect of raising them, 69 per cent thought there would be no change.
Asked about output, 29 per cent said they expect to reduce it, while 25 per cent are looking for an increase.
The resulting balance of minus four per cent is the first negative outcome since June.
Industrialists describing their total order books as "below normal" outnumbered those saying they were "above normal" by 25 per cent of the total sample - exactly as in October.
But within this a negative balance of minus 13 per cent for export orders was the best this year and a sharp improvement from minus 28 per cent in October. It was also better than balances of about minus 17 prevailing through the Spring and summer months.
The CBI said it was clear that profit margins would remain under pressure despite the fall in oil prices in the past few weeks.
Manufacturers appear to be managing their stocks of finished goods watchfully in fast-changing markets. A dominant 63 per cent of the sample said their stocks were adequate.
Although only seven per cent described them as "less than adequate" and 23 per cent as "more than adequate", the resulting balance of 15 per cent, was well down on 21 per cent recorded in August.