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UK manufacturing shrinks, construction falls sharply

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Staff Writer |
UK manufacturing
Britain   The reason for the slowdown

UK manufacturing output is growing at the slowest rate since last summer, according to official figures that came in well below forecast.

UK industrial production rose 0.1% in February compared to January, the Office for National Statistics revealed, well short of the 0.4% growth the market had expected and sharply lower than the 1.3% seen at the start of the year.

The reason for the slowdown was a 0.2% month-on-month fall in manufacturing production, undershooting forecasts for 0.2% growth and the 0.1% reported a month earlier.

Compared to February last year, manufacturing production was up 2.5% when economists had pencilled in a 3.3% rise. January's yearly growth was revised to 2.2%.

IP was only in positive territory boosted by growth in the energy supply sector due to the colder than normal weather. Compared to last year, February's IP fell short of expectations, up 2.2% versus the 2.9% predicted, but higher than the revised 1.2% in January.

Partly the fall in manufacturing reflected a fall in the mining and quarrying sector, electrical appliances and oil refining, amid the planned closure of two of the six major oil refineries and the one-day closure of the Forties oil pipeline.

This was only partly offset by increases in machinery, metal products and pharmaceuticals.

UK construction output fell sharply in February, taking a hit from adverse weather conditions, according to data from the Office for National Statistics.

Output was down 1.6% on the month, which was better than the revised 3.1% drop the month before but much worse than the 0.9% increase expected.

On the year, construction output was down 3%, which was worse than the 2.5% drop predicted and the previous month's revised 2.1% fall.

The biggest decline was seen in repair and maintenance work, with private housing and infrastructure new work providing the only positive contributions to growth.

Private housing grew by £232m in February, while infrastructure work increased by £60m.

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