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Last Updated: Friday, 6 October 2006, 09:41 GMT 10:41 UK
UK manufacturing growth continues
Production line
The manufacturing sector has been picking up
Output in the UK's manufacturing sector rose faster than expected in August, official figures have shown.

The 0.4% rise was the fourth month of growth in a row and was helped by strength in the electronics sector, the Office for National Statistics said.

The improved output took annual growth to 1.5%, suggesting increased demand for British goods.

The recovering economy of the eurozone is helping British exports, offsetting some of the impact of the strong pound.

Car sales

The August figure was twice what analysts had been expecting, and was also helped by a strong performance in the optical equipment industry.

The wider industrial production measure, which includes energy industries, climbed by 0.1% in August, giving an annual increase of 0.7%.

Analysts said the figures were unlikely to have much influence on the Bank of England, which is tipped by many to increase UK interest rates from 4.75% to 5% by the end of the year after holding them steady on Thursday.

Also on Thursday, it was announced that September's new car sales had dipped slightly, although they were still above industry expectations.

The total of 413,991 new cars registered was down 0.7% on the same month a year ago, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.

September is significant for UK car sales as it is one of the months when new number plates are introduced.

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