Jubilee celebration period knocks manufacturing
Britain’s industrial output tanked in June as two extra public holidays compounded the sector’s underlying weakness.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said that manufacturing output fell 2.9 per cent, after a 1.2 per cent rise in May when the spring bank holiday was moved back to coincide with the Diamond Jubilee celebrations.
The wider reading of industrial output, which includes energy production and mining, dropped 2.5 per cent in June, following a 1 per cent rise in May.
Although economists were sceptical that the decline can be attributed entirely to the loss of working days, many took heart that the falls were smaller than had been predicted and increase the likelihood that the UK economy’s shock 0.7 per cent contraction in the second quarter will be revised upwards.
Tim Ohlenburg, senior economist at the Centre for Economics & Business Research, said the decline of North Sea oil and gas production had been taking more than a percentage point off industrial output growth every year since the turn of the millennium.
However, he added that weak trade partners are bigger factors in the decline, limiting hopes for the elusive export-led recovery.
It is thought that Scottish manufacturers may be outperforming the UK as a whole.
Duncan Irvine, head of corporate banking for Barclays in Scotland, said: “Scottish manufacturing has seen a few chinks of light, for example the recent £140 million contract wins announced by BiFab in Fife. But whether these will provide enough of an impact for Scotland to outperform the rest of the UK remains to be seen.”
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Wednesday 19 June 2013
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