UK factory output rises on manufacturing utilities
LONDON: U.K. industrial production posted a modest rebound in January as manufacturing and energy production jumped. Output climbed 0.3 from December, the Office for National Statistics said in London on Wednesday. Economists had forecast a gain of 0.4 percent. Manufacturing rose 0.7 percent and utilities increased production by 4.3 percent. Oil and gas extraction fell 6.3 percent, the most since June 2014, as stormy weather affected North Sea facilities.
The figures may do little to dispel concerns about the outlook for the economy as a deteriorating global growth weighs on exporters and the possibility of a British exit from the European Union rattles the dominant services sector, the main engine of expansion. Purchasing-management surveys this month showed indexes of manufacturing and services falling to their lowest levels in almost three years in February. In the three months through January, industrial production fell 1.3 percent, the ONS said.
The monthly increase in manufacturing in January followed three months of declines and was led by a category that includes sporting goods, jewellery and games and toys. Industrial output rose 0.2 percent from a year earlier and manufacturing was down 0.1 percent. Total production, which accounts for just over 10 percent of U.K. gross domestic product, fell 0.4 percent in the fourth quarter instead of the 0.5 percent previously reported. The revision will have no impact on overall GDP growth, the ONS said.