British Manufacturing's Increase is Largest in Eight Years

Output in March jumped 2.3%

British manufacturing output soared in March at the fastest pace for almost eight years as the country recovered from recession faster than expected, official data showed on May 11.

Output in March jumped 2.3% from February in the biggest rise since July 2002, the Office for National Statistics said.

Output in March on a 12-month basis rebounded 3.3% -- the largest annual gain since October 2006, the ONS added.

The statistics office said the data indicated that British gross domestic product (GDP) growth for the first quarter would be revised up by 0.1 percentage points to 0.3%. The ONS will publish its second official estimate of first quarter GDP later this month.

"The release on May 25 includes this (manufacturing) effect together with any other impacts arising from data received after the (initial) GDP release," it added.

The first forecast showed that the British economy expanded 0.2% in the three months to March. That marked a pronounced slowdown from a 0.4% expansion in the fourth quarter of 2009, when Britain emerged from a record-length recession that lasted for six successive quarters.

The ONS said that a wider measure of industrial output -- which includes mining, quarrying and energy -- increased by 2.0% in March from February, and also rose by the same percentage on a 12-month basis.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2010

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