UK industrial output bounces back after January snow

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The Independent Online

British industrial output rose twice as fast as expected in February, recovering from snow-related disruption in January to post its biggest monthly rise since September, official data showed today.

Industrial production rose 1.0 percent on the month after a 0.5 percent fall in January, boosted by electrical and optical equipment, non-metallic minerals and food, alcohol and tobacco.

The narrower measure of manufacturing output, which excludes energy production, jumped 1.3 percent on the month after a 1.0 percent decline in January - also the biggest monthly rebound since last September.

Analysts had expected a rise in industrial output of 0.5 percent on the month, with manufacturing output also seen up 0.7 percent.

The figures support the view that the economy's poor start to the year was due to the weather rather than heralding a new downturn, and confirm the Bank of England's view that data is likely to be volatile in the first quarter of this year.

Britain suffered its harshest winter in 30 years in January when heavy snow made roads impassable and caused many schools and businesses to close.

On the year, industrial output fell 0.1 percent, its smallest decline since April 2008, when output was stagnant.

Manufacturing output grew 1.3 percent on the year, its best showing since February 2008.