UK industry unexpectedly weak in February

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Image caption,
Falling oil and gas production was partly to blame for the fall, the ONS said

UK industry had its worst month for 18 months in February, figures show.

Industrial output, which includes quarrying and mining, fell 1.2% in the month compared with January, but was up 2.4% from February 2010, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.

It was the biggest fall since August 2009 and was largely due to a fall in oil and gas extraction.

Manufacturing output, which excludes quarrying and mining, was unchanged from the previous month.

"Barring a very large bounce back in industrial production in March, the upshot of these figures is that the sector will make only a tiny contribution to quarterly GDP growth in the first quarter," said Samuel Tombs at Capital Economics.

The first estimate of the growth of the whole economy in the first three months of 2011 will be released on 27 April.

Industrial production accounts for 17% of GDP.

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