Factory figures confirm strong recovery

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Factories provided further signs of the strengthening UK recovery today as official figures for June showed the sharpest rise in manufacturing output for nearly a year.

Manufacturing output rose 1.9 per cent compared to the previous month, reversing falls in April and May, while overall production was up 1.1 per cent month-on-month.

All parts of manufacturing - spanning car to food-manufacturers - grew monthly output for the first time in more than 20 years, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics.

Economists said it was the “most convincing sign yet” that all sectors of the economy are recovering, although they warned factories will struggle to maintain this pace of growth.

The official data follows recent upbeat industry surveys for July which have signalled growth across manufacturing, construction and services.

It also comes as the automotive industry reported that new car registrations rose for the 17th month in a row in July.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has now significantly raised its forecast for 2013 new car registrations, predicting sales will reach 2.2 million units, 8.4 per cent ahead of 2012.

Strong performance across the private, fleet and business market sectors saw July registrations growing 12.7% to 162,228 units.

In Scotland July registrations reached 13,253, up from 12,038 in the same month last year.