Page last updated at 15:10 GMT, Wednesday, 10 February 2010

UK manufacturing output sees strong growth

Production line at the BMW UK Mini plant in Oxford
Industrial production accounts for about 17% of the UK's economy

Stronger-than-expected manufacturing figures have raised hopes of an upward revision to the UK's economic growth in the last three months of 2009.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said that manufacturing output grew by 0.9% in December, which was much stronger than had been forecast.

The wider industrial production measure, which includes mining and energy, rose by 0.5%.

The UK economy grew by 0.1% in the final quarter of 2009.

GDP figures are revised at least twice after the first estimate is released.

It had been suggested that the latest 0.1% growth figure could be revised downwards, meaning the UK economy had not, in fact, crept out of recession.

This improvement does not mean there is any room for complacency
British Chambers of Commerce

The last quarter of 2009 saw manufacturing output rise by 0.8%, the ONS said, while industrial output was up 0.4%.

Meanwhile, research released by the National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR) on Wednesday suggested that the UK economy grew faster in the three months to January.

GDP increased by 0.4% over the three-month period, the think tank said.

Looking forward, however, the Bank of England has suggested the outlook for the UK economy remains uncertain.

In its latest Inflation Report, the Bank's governor, Mervyn King, said: "The UK economy has continued to bump along the bottom, but a gradual recovery in output may now be in prospect."

Encouraging signs

Jonathan Loynes from Capital Economics said: "December's UK industrial production figures will raise hopes of a small upward revision to Q4 GDP growth.

"Perhaps more importantly, the numbers provide hope that the recovery in the manufacturing sector is picking up some steam again after stalling a bit over the previous few months."

The sectors that have seen particular expansion include transport, paper and publishing, electrical and optical equipment.

The increase is consistent with other economic data. Earlier this month a survey of purchasing managers indicated the fastest pace of manufacturing growth for 15 years.

Whilst the recent spurt is encouraging, during 2009 overall output was 10.2% lower than in 2008.

The British Chambers of Commerce said: "These figures are stronger than expected and reinforce hopes that 2009's fourth quarter GDP growth will be revised upwards - possibly by even more than the ONS has indicated."

However, it added: "This improvement does not mean there is any room for complacency. Manufacturing declined sharply last year and annual growth is still in negative territory."

Print Sponsor

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Sign in

BBC navigation

Copyright © 2019 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific