News ID: 204130
Published: 0845 GMT November 11, 2017

UK, France industrial output jumps in September

UK, France industrial output jumps in September

The UK's industrial output grew at its fastest pace so far this year in September, according to official figures.

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

Separate data showed the UK's trade deficit in goods and services narrowed by more than expected in September.

However, construction output fell by 1.6 percent in the month, the ONS said.


Mixed outlook


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

Manufacturing output — a subset of industrial output — also rose by 0.7 percent in September.

"Industrial production has risen for six consecutive months, a feat last achieved 23 years ago," said Samuel Tombs, chief UK economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics.

However, he added that the recovery in manufacturing output could be hit by recent rises in the oil price.

Howard Archer, chief economic adviser to the EY Item Club, said the outlook for manufacturing appeared ‘mixed’.

Domestic conditions looked "challenging despite recent decent demand", he said.

"Increased prices for capital goods and big-ticket consumer durable goods, weakened consumer purchasing power, and economic and political uncertainty threaten to hamper manufacturers.

"On the export side, a very competitive pound and healthy global demand are helping UK manufacturers competing in foreign markets. The weakened pound also appears to be encouraging some companies to switch to domestic sources for supplies."

The UK's trade deficit in goods and services narrowed by £0.7 billion between August and September 2017 to £2.75 billion, mainly due to trade in goods exports increasing by £1.3 billion.

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

In the three months to September 2017, the total UK trade deficit widened by £3 billion to £9.5 billion, mainly due to an increased imports, including of machinery, non-monetary gold and fuels.

The construction output data was much weaker than expected. As well as the sharp fall in September from August, output was only up 1.1 percent from a year earlier — the weakest annual rate since March last year.

The ONS said the latest economic data did not suggest there would be any change to its initial estimate that the UK economy grew 0.4 percent in the third quarter of the year.


French industrial output


French industrial output rebounded slightly in September after an unexpected drop in August.

Output in the sector as a whole increased 0.6 percent in the month after a 0.2 percent decline a month earlier, according to data from the French National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies (Insee), in line with analysts’ expectations according to Reuters.

In manufacturing, output also picked up, increasing 0.4 percent in September following on from a 0.3 percent fall.

Over the past twelve months manufacturing output expanded ‘sharply’, according to Insee, up 2.7 percent in the third quarter compared to the same period a year earlier. Output ‘soared’ in the manufacture of transport equipment, increased ‘sharply’ again in the production of machinery and equipment, and in mining, quarrying energy and water supply and ‘more slightly’ in food and drink. The manufacture of coke and refined petroleum products was the only sector where production output fell over the year.

Quarter-on-quarter, output in manufacturing and overall industry grew 0.6 percent, with the biggest increase in transport production, which continued a strong run.

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