British Manufacturing Output Suffers Setback

The British manufacturing sector suffered an unexpected setback in April after posting its best performance in 11 months in March, official figures released on June 8 showed. The office for National Statistics revealed that manufacturing output fell by a seasonally-adjusted 0.2% in April on a monthly basis, following an unrevised 0.7% rise in March.

The decline was the weakest monthly performance since a fall of 0.7% in October 2005, and stood in marked contrast to a raft of surveys indicating that the beleaguered sector was benefiting from an improvement in fortunes.

The statistics office said there had been no significant rises within the manufacturing sector in April. The biggest decline was registered by the paper, printing and publishing industries, which saw output fall by 1.3 %.

Meanwhile, the wider industrial production measure, which also includes mining, quarrying and utilities as well as oil and gas output, fell by a seasonally-adjusted 0.6% in April from the previous month, against predictions for a 0.4% increase. In March, it had risen by 0.7%.

On a 12-month basis, industrial production, which accounts for around 20% of Britain's gross domestic product, was 1.0% lower, against forecasts of an unchanged reading.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2006

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