Britain's Industrial Output Posts Largest Drop Since 2009

Production impacted by slump in oil and gas extraction.

British industrial production slumped in February by the largest amount for 18 months, official data showed on April 6, denting hopes of a swift recovery for the faltering economy.

Industrial output, which includes mining and quarrying, sank 1.2 % in February from January, the UK's Office for National Statistics said in a statement.

That was the largest drop since August 2009 and was driven by a sharp slump in oil and gas extraction. However, output rose by 2.4% on an annual basis.

"February's industrial production figures add to evidence that the overall economy has struggled to bounce back in the first quarter," said economist Samuel Tombs at the Capital Economics consultancy.

He added: "Barring a very large bounce back in industrial production in March, the upshot of these figures is that the sector will make only a tiny contribution to quarterly GDP growth in the first quarter."

The overall economy shrank by 0.5% between October and December compared with the third quarter of 2010, partly because cold weather hampered the construction industry, according to recent official data.

The ONS added on April 6 that manufacturing output, which excludes mining and quarrying, was flat in February from the previous month, but was 4.9% higher compared with the level a year earlier.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2011

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