Manufacturing output fell by 0.2% in April compared with the previous month following two consecutive increases during February and March 2013. The main falls were in the transport equipment; wood & paper products and metal & metal products.
Compared with a year ago, output was 0.5% down with the chemical industries, plastics and food productsbeing the main culprits.
Lee Hopley, Chief Economist at the manufacturers’ organisation EEF said the contraction in output had “put a brake on” the recent positive run of data. She continued: “While this may indicate a slower start to the second quarter than some of the other survey evidence, there remains a great difference in the profile of growth across individual sectors. Prospects in areas such as transport equipment and metal products continue to look positive and, added to this, pharmaceuticals also appears to be turning a corner. Despite today’s data, we are still looking at a pick-up in activity across UK manufacturing through the second half of this year.”
Chris Williamson, chief economist at Markit, said the fall was less than had been expected and needed to be looked at in the context of previous strong rises in prior months, as well as disruptions due to the timing of Easter.
He added: “The most interesting number is therefore the 0.5% increase in manufacturing output over the latest three months, which contrasts with the 0.3% decline seen in the first quarter and is a huge turnaround on the 1.4% rate of decline seen in the final three months of last year. Manufacturing is now growing at the fastest quarterly rate since July 2011.”
This material is protected by copyright Ken Hurst 2013.