Manufacturing exceeds expectations, but construction figures fall

UK industrial production exceeded exceptions in November, rising for the first time in three months and growing 2 per cent year on year.

According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) UK index of production, which measures the volume of production at base year prices for the manufacturing, mining and quarrying, energy supply, and water and waste management industries, manufacturing production was up 1.3 per cent in November from the month before. The largest contribution came from pharmaceuticals, which increased by 11.4 per cent.

The month-on-same month a year ago estimate of total production increased by 2 per cent in November 2016, with increases in all 4 main sectors; the largest contribution came from manufacturing, 1.2 per cent.

In direct contrast, however, the ONS construction bulletin for November 2016 shows construction output fell by 0.2 per cent in November, compared with October, largely due to a contraction in non-housing repair and maintenance, which provided the largest downwards pressure to construction output, falling both on the month and year. But new work in November increased, with new housing output continuing to grow.

Commenting on the results, Kate Davies, senior statistician at the ONS, says: “Today’s figures continue to paint a mixed picture of the UK’s economic performance. Production saw significant growth, mainly down to increased oil and gas output as the Buzzard field came back online along with a boost from the volatile pharmaceuticals industry.

“However, the trade deficit widened as imports of transport equipment, chemicals and portable computers helped eclipse rising exports, while falls in repair work and commercial building led to a small overall decline in construction."

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