British manufacturing output drops in December: official

10th February 2011, Comments 0 comments

British manufacturing output unexpectedly fell in December, official data showed on Thursday, as the sector was hit by wintry weather conditions.

Manufacturing output declined by 0.1 percent in December compared with activity in November, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said in a statement.

That was the first monthly fall since April and confounded market expectations for a 0.4-percent gain.

Output climbed by 4.4 percent in December compared with the level one year earlier. That undershot forecasts for a rise of 5.5 percent.

The ONS added that industrial production, which includes mining and quarrying, as well as electricity, gas, and water supply, rose by 0.5 percent in December and rose by 3.6 percent year-on-year.

"December's UK official industrial production figures suggest that, like the rest of the economy, the manufacturing recovery was blown off course by bad weather at the end of the year," said Capital Economics analyst Samuel Tombs.

He added: "At least the figures are not sufficiently weak on their own to prompt a downward revision to quarterly GDP growth in the fourth quarter."

British gross domestic product (GDP) shrank 0.5 percent in the three months to December, or fourth quarter of 2010, which was the first drop in economic output since the third quarter of 2009.

The GDP figures, which may be revised later this month, stoked fears that Britain could be heading for a fresh recession.

© 2011 AFP

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