London - Quarterly UK production output is estimated to have decreased by 0.4 percent in the January to March period, according to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS). Manufacturers of rubber and plastics products, however, bucked this negative trend.
Manufacturing, the largest component of production, is estimated to have decreased by 0.4 percent between October – December 2015 and the latest statistical period.
On a yearly basis, UK manufacturing suffered the biggest annual contraction in almost three years in March. The 1.9 percent drop represented the biggest year-on-year drop since May 2013.
It was not all bad news, however, as production of rubber and plastic products showed strong signs of recovery, increasing by 1.6 percent.
Commenting on the data, Lee Hopley, chief economist at EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation, said: “There isn’t too much in the data to lift economic spirits as a small increase in manufacturing output in March doesn’t change the picture of an overall weak start to the year.
“As ever, it’s a mixed picture across different sectors with a bit more evidence that the sectors hardest hit by the oil price collapse are now bottoming out while construction related sectors seem to be holding up.
“Whether this proves to be temporary is yet to be seen but UK manufacturers are far from alone in seeing this trend with other data from Europe suggesting that the industrial recovery is far from secure.”