British official manufacturing output rises in May

7th July 2011, Comments 0 comments

British manufacturing output rebounded in May on a monthly basis, but only just offset April's heavy drop, official data showed on Thursday.

Production soared in May by 1.8 percent, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said in a statement. That was the sharpest monthly gain since March 2010.

Output climbed by 2.7 percent in May on a 12-month comparison. The data beat market expectations for a monthly increase of 1.0 percent and an annual gain of 2.1 percent.

However, the ONS also revised its estimate for April, when activity was hit hard by the special royal wedding holiday, while Japan's tsunami disaster sparked supply problems.

Manufacturing output slumped by 1.6 percent in April compared with activity in March. That was worse than the previous estimate of a 1.5-percent decline.

"May's rise in manufacturing output only just offset April's bank holiday-related drop, adding to other evidence suggesting that the industrial recovery is weakening," said Capital Economics analyst Vicky Redwood.

She added: "This slowdown in the industrial recovery looks like it might continue."

The ONS added Thursday that industrial production, which includes mining and quarrying, as well as electricity, gas, and water supply, rose by 0.9 percent in May, but was 0.8 percent weaker than the same month of last year.

The data was published ahead of the latest interest rate decision from the Bank of England. The British central bank is widely expected to hold its main lending rate at a record low 0.50 percent to help the flat recovery.

© 2011 AFP

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