UK industrial output rises in September; trade gap narrows

A worker inspects biscuits on the production line of Pladis' McVities factory in London Britain. Photo: Reuters

British industrial output increased in September at the fastest pace this year and the goods trade deficit improved, mostly upbeat official data showed on Friday.

Despite also showing a sharp downturn in construction, the figures as a whole are likely to hearten Bank of England officials who last week voted to raise interest rates for the first time in more than 10 years.

The Office for National Statistics said the data for September did not imply any change to its preliminary estimate that Britain’s economy grew by 0.4 per cent in the third quarter, picking up a bit of speed from earlier in 2017 but still slower than growth in the euro zone.

The ONS said industrial and manufacturing output shot up by a monthly 0.7 per cent in September, the fastest growth for each sector since December last year and above all forecasts in a Reuters poll of economists.

The consensus had pointed to a reading of 0.3 per cent for both.

Industrial output, which includes manufacturing, accounts for 14 per cent of Britain’s overall economic output.

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