Manufacturing returns to slump, but trade figures show surprise improvement
Manufacturing has sunk backinto recession, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) confirmed yesterday. Output fell by 0.8 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2011, the second consecutive quarter-on-quarter contraction of the sector.
The biggest declines were in metals, pharmaceuticals and electronic equipment. However, manufacturing output bounced back in December, increasing by1 per cent on the previous month.
And some sectors have bucked the declining trend. The ONS said the year-on-year increase in the manufacture of food, drink and tobacco is the strongest rise since records began in 1948. It added that the main driver of growth was alcoholic spirits, with output rising by 33.6 per cent in 2011. Most of this production was for export.
There was also some positive news from yesterday's ONS trade figures, which showed that the UK trade deficit in goods and services fell to £1.1bn in December, the lowest since April 2003. The deficit on seasonally adjusted trade in goods was £7.1bn in December, compared with an £8.9bn gap in November.
"The trade figures pleasantly surprised and have held up well over the past three months, given the headwinds that exporters have faced," said Nida Ali, economic adviser to the Ernst and Young ITEM Club. "With export volumes growing strongly and imports falling, net trade is likely to have made a strong contribution to Q4 GDP growth."
- 1 School kitchen manager 'fired from Colorado school for giving hungry students free lunches'
- 2 California man brutally beat 82-year-old Sikh grandfather he mistook for 'one of those people'
- 5 Charles Kennedy 'had better judgement drunk than many sober politicians' says Ian Hislop
California man brutally beat 82-year-old Sikh grandfather he mistook for 'one of those people'
Amber Peat: Body found in search for missing 13-year-old who left house after argument with her parents
Alton Towers crash: Four guests seriously injured as Smiler ride carriages collide
Charles Kennedy dead: A guy once asked the Lib Dem leader who his favourite Muppet was and his letter response was wonderful
Gay teenager 'forced to have sex with his own mother' to 'cure' his homosexuality, campaigners in India say
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination
Migrants in Kos: Photos show real tragedy after Brits abroad complain of 'awkward' holidays
British tourists complain that impoverished boat migrants are making holidays 'awkward' in Kos
Michael Gove determined to scrap the Human Rights Act – even if Scotland retains it
Threat to scrap Human Rights Act could see UK follow Nazi example, warns UN official
Church of England 'one generation away from extinction' after dramatic loss of followers
iJobs Money & Business
£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The UK's fastest growing, multi...
£70000 - £90000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Financial Reporting Manager i...
£23000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They win lots of awards for the...
£13500 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This nationwide enforcement com...