UK industrial output rises 2% in March
UK industrial output saw its strongest monthly expansion in almost eight years in March, official figures have shown.
Output rose by 2.0% compared with February, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said. Analysts had expected a 0.3% rise.
Strong export demand contributed to a powerful performance by manufacturers.
The ONS estimated that the data would add 0.1 percentage points to the UK's first-quarter GDP growth - initially estimated at 0.2%.
Manufacturing output rose by 2.3% on a month-on-month basis.
The transport and metal sectors of manufacturing had done particularly well, the ONS said.
There have been hopes that a weak pound would boost the UK economy by making its exports cheaper.
The EEF manufacturing group said the UK was seeing "a broad-based recovery for a sector hard hit by the recession".
But its chief economist, Lee Hopley, said that a "credible plan to repair the public finances" was needed to "both reassure financial markets and underpin a sustainable recovery".