Manufacturing output in Q1 falls, but slowest monthly rate of decline for 13 months
Manufacturing output in the first quarter of 2009 fell by 5.5% compared with the previous quarter, according to figures published by the Office of National Statistics today. The biggest falls by sector were 13.6 % in the transport equipment industries and 12.5% in the machinery and equipment industries.
Manufacturing output in the latest quarter was 13.1% lower than the same period a year ago. But the monthly fall in output between February and March of 0.1% is the lowest rate of decline for 13 consecutive months.
“Although the figures show a 13.1% reduction year on year, which represents a substantial decline, the rate of decrease is slowing,” said Graeme Allinson, head of manufacturing, transport and logistics at Barclays Commercial Bank.
“This marginal decrease shows that decline is slowing and also supports recent positive figures from the April PMI [Purchasing Managers Index], which show a pick up in manufacturing output in the UK, and reflects a certain degree of optimism in the sector. “The slowing rate of decline seems to be due to improving sentiment and hopefully the competitiveness of sterling versus the euro and dollar.”