Business

UK industrial output sees surprise fall in April

Nissan car factory
Image caption Despite the monthly fall, analysts say the underlying trend is positive

UK industrial output fell unexpectedly in April, but economists have said the figures should not be a cause for concern.

Output fell by 0.4% compared with March, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said, whereas a rise of 0.4% had been forecast.

It was the first fall in monthly production since January.

Experts said the drop should be seen as a correction after a particularly strong jump in output in March of 2%.

Over the year, output is still rising, as levels were 2.1% higher than in April 2009.

Overall trend

Manufacturing output also fell by 0.4% on the month, but was up 3.4% year-on-year.

"The volatile monthly movements in these figures are somewhat at odds with more positive survey indicators though they conceal a solid year-on-year increase in output," said Lee Hopley, chief economist at the EEF manufacturers' organisation.

Malcolm Barr at JP Morgan said: "I think it is fair to say, relative to people's expectations going into the report, the decline in headline production and manufacturing output is probably a little bit of a surprise and a bit of a disappointment.

"However I don't think it really does a lot to damage the perception that the trend is towards ongoing increases in industrial output."

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