Britain's industrial output posts largest drop since 2009
British industrial production slumped in February by the biggest amount for 18 months, official data showed on Wednesday, denting hopes of a swift recovery for the faltering economy.
Industrial output, which includes mining and quarrying, sank 1.2 percent in February from January, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) 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 percent 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 percent 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 Wednesday that manufacturing output, which excludes mining and quarrying, was flat in February from the previous month, but was 4.9 percent higher compared with the level a year earlier.
© 2011 AFP