United Kingdom industrial output rises in September; trade gap narrows

Reuters

Production rose by 0.7% compared with the month before, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said, boosted by machinery and equipment output.

The increase in industrial production was better than analysts' forecasts, and the fastest growth seen since December past year.

The new figures will have no impact on the preliminary estimate of overall economic growth of 0.4% in the third quarter, government statisticians said.

Within that, manufacturing rose by 0.7 per cent.

Economists forecast industrial output to grow 0.5% on month, reversing a 0.3% fall in August. Industry accounts for only 14 per cent of the British economy and construction chips in another 6 per cent. Figures for the dominant services sector are due on November 23.

Manufacturing rose 0.7 per cent in September, the fifth consecutive increase and more double market forecasts.

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The UK's trade deficit in goods and services narrowed by £0.7bn between August and September 2017 to £2.75bn, mainly due to trade in goods exports increasing by £1.3bn. Economists polled by Reuters had expected a reading of 12.8 billion pounds.

Despite the positive news on industrial production and trade, a separate release from the ONS suggested the construction sector had a torrid September, with output contracting 1.6 per cent.

There was a sharp improvement in the goods trade deficit with non- European Union countries, which narrowed to 2.982 billion pounds - the smallest since May.

Despite this, the UK's trade performance during the third quarter as a whole worsened, according to the ONS data.

The construction output data was much weaker than expected. The Reuters poll consensus had pointed to only a small month-on-month drop.

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