British Manufacturing Falls Sharply In February

Britain's manufacturing output fell unexpectedly sharply in February to record the first drop in production for five months, official data showed April 7, reinforcing the view that the Bank of England would not rush to hike interest rates. Manufacturing output, which accounts for 80% of British industrial production, fell by 0.5% in February from the previous month and against expectations of a modest 0.1% fall, the National Statistics Office said. This was the first monthly decline since August 2004, when output fell by 0.6%.

Manufacturing output meanwhile rose 0.9% in February on a year-on-year basis but below economists' consensus forecasts for a rise of 1.5%. "There were significant decreases in output of 2.0% in the chemicals and man-made fibers industries and 1.3% in the pulp, paper, printing and publishing industries," National Statistics said.

The wider measure of industrial production, which also includes utilities output and accounts for just over 20% of British gross domestic product, dropped by 0.4% in February from January and by 0.1% year-on-year.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2005

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