Business

UK manufacturing output strengthens in September

Car plant worker Image copyright Getty Images

UK manufacturing output rose by 0.8% in September, according to official figures, the biggest monthly increase since April 2014.

Despite the increase, manufacturing output was still down 0.6% from the same month last year.

The wider measure of industrial production fell 0.2% in September, but was 1.1% higher than a year earlier.

Other figures from the ONS indicated the goods trade deficit narrowed to £9.35bn in September.

The deficit - showing that the UK imported more goods than it exported - was down from a gap of £10.79bn in August.

The deficit in goods and services narrowed to £1.4bn in September from £2.9bn the previous month.

However, for the July-to-September quarter, the trade deficit in goods and services widened to £8.5bn, from a gap of £5.1bn in the previous quarter.

Comeback signs?

Last month, the ONS said the UK's economy grew by 0.5% in the third quarter, in its first growth estimate for the quarter.

The latest ONS figures show that industrial production rose by 0.2% in the July-to-September period, slightly below initial estimates of 0.3%, while manufacturing output fell by 0.4%.

Lee Hopley, chief economist at the manufacturers' organisation, the EEF, said: "While manufacturing contracted in the last quarter, there are signs that some parts of industry at least were mounting a comeback after a summer lull."

She added, though, that there were risks from the economic slowdown happening elsewhere around the world: "Another disappointing set of trade figures for manufacturing show that these effects are already being felt, with a significant fall in goods exports to China over the past three months."

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