Queen's Jubilee Hits British Manufacturing Output

Aug. 7, 2012
Production dropped 2.9% in June from May to record the biggest fall since November 2008.

Manufacturing output in recession-hit Britain slumped by the largest amount in almost four years in June as the country celebrated Queen Elizabeth's diamond jubilee, official data showed Tuesday.

Production dropped 2.9% in June from May to record the biggest fall since November 2008, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.

But the decline was far less than analyst predictions for a slide of 4.5% according to a poll by Dow Jones Newswires, indicating that Britain's recession may not be as deep as feared according to analysts.

Manufacturing output retreated 4.3% in June on an annual basis, also lower than analysts' consensus forecast for a drop of 5.9%.

"The moving of the late May 2012 bank (public) holiday to June 2012 and the additional bank holiday for the Queen's diamond jubilee were likely contributing factors" to the declines in output.

Britain stopped work for two days in June to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II's 60 years on the throne with street parties, concerts and parades.

The ONS on Tuesday added that the wider measure of industrial output -- which includes manufacturing, mining and quarrying, electricity, gas and water supply -- fell 2.5% between June and May.

That was also the biggest month-on-month drop since November 2008. Like manufacturing output, industrial production dropped 4.3% year-on-year in June.

"June's industrial figures suggest that the drop in GDP in the second quarter is likely to be revised to a slightly smaller fall," said Samuel Tombs, an analyst at Capital Economics research group.

"But the figures did not change the overall picture of a sector struggling to grow in response to rapidly weakening overseas demand."

Britain's economy shrank in the second quarter by more than expected, official data showed last month, as a double-dip recession tightened its grip ahead of the costly London Olympics.

Gross Domestic Product (GDP) slumped 0.7% between April and June from the first three months of the year on steep output declines in the construction and manufacturing sectors, the ONS had said.

Output was also impacted by the extra day's public holiday for the diamond jubilee celebrations and by very poor weather. Britain suffered its wettest quarter on record in the reporting period.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2012

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