Britain's manufacturing sector assuaged worries of a slide towards recession by producing a strong rise in output in December, official figures showed Wednesday.
Manufacturing output rose by 0.6% in December from November, the National Statistics office said, the highest level since May 2004. Analysts' consensus forecast was for a rise of a 0.2%. On a year-on-year basis, manufacturing output rose 1.1%, again better than expectations.
Manufacturing output, which accounts for just over 17% of British gross domestic product (GDP), had fallen for five months in a row before December, suggesting the sector was likely to prove a drag on the economy in the fourth quarter. But there were widespread rises in various manufacturing subsectors in December, notably a 1.3% gain in the production of food, drink and tobacco.
Meanwhile, the wider measure of industrial production, which includes also utilities output, increased by 0.5% in December from the previous month for a 0.3% year-on-year growth. Industrial production accounts for around 22% of British GDP.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2005