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Ten-year manufacturing high boosts outlook for economy

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: September 08, 2012

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Latest figures revealing the strongest manufacturing growth increase in a decade have boosted optimism over economic recovery.

Manufacturing output grew by 3.2 per cent in July, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said, while the wider index of production grew by 2.9 per cent.

The largest contributions to the month-on-month rise in manufacturing output came from the manufacture of basic metals and metal products, which rose by 6.2 per cent, followed by the manufacture of transport equipment, which rose by 6.3 per cent, the ONS added.

Howard Archer, chief UK and European economist at IHS Global Insight, said the sharp rebound provided a "significant lift" to growth prospects in the third quarter, after three quarters of contracting gross domestic product.

Within the index of production, the mining and quarrying sector rose by 4.9 per cent and the water and waste management sector rose by 1.6 per cent.

These increases were slightly offset by the electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning sector, which fell by 0.2 per cent, the ONS added.

The previous month's production figures suffered from the double whammy of an extra bank holiday for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Holiday and from the typical late May bank holiday being moved into June.

Accordingly, industrial production output slid by 2.4 per cent between May and June.

Victoria Clarke, economist at Investec, said: "The strength of the July rebound is likely to quell some of those nerves that the UK industrial sector could weigh heavily on third-quarter GDP, limiting any post-Jubilee rebound in overall economic output."

A purchasing managers survey for August also revealed signs of an improving performance in the manufacturing sector. The economy shrank 0.5 per cent between April and June, confirming the double-dip recession as the longest since the 1950s.

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