Industrial production grows for the sixth month running

Industrial production in the UK outperformed expectations in September, with manufacturing a major driving force behind the unexpected bounce.

Figures compiled by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) and released last week confirm a 0.7 per cent increase in output that month, more the twice the level many analysts were expecting.

In fact the increase was the most significant recorded in 2017 thus far.

The figures mean that industrial production has risen in each of the past six months – a trend which has not been seen since the mid-1990s.

Samuel Tombs, the chief UK economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, questioned whether the trend could continue.

“Looking ahead…the recovery in manufacturing output likely will weaken in response to the recent surge in the oil price,” he said.

“In addition, output in the energy supply sector likely plunged by about four per cent month-to-month in October, due to unseasonably warm weather. Accordingly, it’s unlikely that industry can be counted on to support GDP growth again in the fourth quarter.”

Ruth Gregory, from Capital Economics, said: “The flurry of activity data suggests that the industrial sector is helping to provide some offset to the consumer slowdown.”

Experts have suggested that manufacturers will continue to benefit from the value of Sterling and demand from overseas.

But a rise in prices for capital goods and a decline in consuming purchasing power may yet prove to be an obstacle for some in the sector.

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