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News : UK Economy Last Updated: Mar 12, 2013 - 1:26 PM

UK industrial production fell sharply in January
By Finfacts Team
Mar 12, 2013 - 1:24 PM

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UK industrial production fell sharply in January, official figures showed Tuesday, raising fears that the country will have its third recession in not much more than four years.

The Office for National Statistics said industrial production fell a monthly rate of 1.2% from December, in contrast to expectations for a 0.2% rise. Industrial output includes manufacturing, as well as sectors such as construction and oil and gas production, and accounts for around 20% of the British economy, which is Europe's third-biggest.

Production on a seasonally adjusted basis fell by 2.9% in January 2013 compared with January 2012; manufacturing on a seasonally adjusted basis fell by 3.0% in January 2013 compared with January 2012; production on a seasonally adjusted basis fell by 1.2% between December 2012 and January 2013, mining & quarrying fell by 2.4% and manufacturing fell by 1.5%

The pound sterling has been one of the worst performing major currencies in 2013, having fallen 8.5% against the dollar and 7.6% against the euro. It fell to $1.4832, its lowest since late June 2010, shortly after the data

The ONS said a main driver of the weak data was oil and gas extraction, which fell 4.3% in January as the Schiehallion oil platform in the North Sea suspended production while it undergoes building work. The oil platform, which accounts for 3% to 6% of the UK's total oil production, is expected to be closed for up to five years.

Oil and gas extraction has been one of the main negatives for the U.K. economy in recent months. The 0.3% contraction in gross domestic product (GDP) during the final quarter of 2012 came about mainly because the Buzzard oil field, the North Sea's largest, was closed for maintenance for much of that period, ONS data has showed.

Overall industrial production, which includes manufacturing output as well as mining and quarrying, electricity, gas and water supply, accounts for 15.6% of the UK's gross domestic product.

German industrial production unexpectedly stagnated in January as debt crisis weighed on company spending and investment.

Production was unchanged from December, when it rose 0.6%, the economy ministry in Berlin said last week. December output was revised up from an initially reported 0.3% increase. From a year earlier, production fell 1.3% when adjusted for working days.

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