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30th of December 2010
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March 10, 2010    

UK factory output in surprise January fall

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by Kay Murchie

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) today revealed UK industrial output unexpectedly fell in January - primarily due to the cold weather during the month.

According to the ONS, output fell by 0.4% in January compared with the previous month and represented the largest monthly fall since August.

Analysts had expected a 0.3% rise.

However, on an annual basis, output was up 0.2% - the first rise since March 2008.

In the meantime, as well as the icy weather being attributed to the fall, some firms said they rushed to complete orders in December - prior to the VAT rate reverting back to 17.5%.

Following the news, the pound fell against the US dollar, losing more than 1.5 cents to $1.48.

Commenting on today’s figures, Howard Archer, chief UK and European economist at IHS Global Insight, said they show the economy suffered because of the icy weather at the start of the year but “latest data and survey evidence generally suggest that the economy bounced back pretty well in February”.

The industrial sector accounts for 17% of Britain’s economy.

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