UK Manufacturing in Recovery Mode as Trade Gap Widens

11 June 2004

April's figures from the UK Office for National Statistics reveal the first rise in three months for manufacturing output, backing up earlier studies by industry bodies.

The 0.9% growth is "stronger than expected", according to economist Mark Miller at Halifax bank, and will have been a contributing factor in the Bank of England's decision this week to raise UK interest rates by a 0.25 percentage point to 4.5%.

Recovery in the manufacturing sector is due, in part, to growth in the chemical industries -- especially drug preparation -- and increases in machine and equipment production.

Also performing well is UK industrial production, which increased by 0.7% on the month and 0.5% on the year, bettering estimates of 0.5% and 0.1% respectively.

• Separate ONS figures are less welcome. Increased imports over exports by the oil trade widened the UK global trade gap in April to £4.7 billion ($8.6bn; €7.1bn).

Data sourced from: BBC Online Business News (UK); additional content by WARC staff