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News : UK Economy Last Updated: Apr 9, 2013 - 4:25 PM


UK production rises easing triple-recession fears; Trade figures worse-than-expected
By Finfacts Team
Apr 9, 2013 - 1:19 PM

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There was further evidence that the UK may avoid an unprecedented triple-dip as data showed factory output rose in February. However, trade figures were worse-than-expected.

On the month, February 2013 compared with January 2013, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said both production and manufacturing rose by 1.0% and 0.8% respectively. All sectors rose during this period - - this last happened in July 2012. Despite the increase in production the index is still only, though, the same level as in September 2012.

Both production and manufacturing fell in February 2013 when compared with February 2012 by 2.2% and 1.4% respectively. There are downward contributions from all sectors with manufacturing and mining & quarrying the most significant.

The ONS said these estimates for the production industries are the first of the main components for the output measure of GDP (construction and services are the other components) to be published for February 2013, the second month of quarter one 2013. All the components are already available for January 2013, the service industries (77% of the output measure of GDP) were estimated to have increased by 0.3% between December 2012 and January 2013, compared with a revised fall of 1.3% in production and 6.3% (non-seasonally adjusted) in construction.

Trade

The UK's trade deficit in goods widened to £9.41bn in February, from £8.17bn the previous month, according to the ONS, as exports to countries outside the European Union slid by 4.7%. Despite the troubles in the Eurozone, the UK's exports to the EU were slightly up, rising 0.6% last month.

The ONS said that due to the volatility of the monthly trade figures, it is not easy to discern trends for a single month. For that purpose it is necessary to look at data over rather longer periods. In the latest three months, trade in goods was in deficit by £26.3 billion, £0.5 billion less than in the preceding three months, but £1.8 billion higher than a year earlier. Exports to the EU in value fell by 5.2% between the latest three months and the same three months a year earlier, while to the rest of the world they were 0.6% higher. This was, however a period in which trade prices have generally fallen.

In terms of volume, exports to the rest of the EU were 3.1% lower in the three months to February, while exports to the rest of the world increased by 1.3% in the same period. By EU country, exports to Belgium and Germany by value held up better than exports to other member states in February. In the same period, imports from the Netherlands rose due to an increase in trade in gas. This rise was primarily offset by a fall in imports of oil from Denmark. Outside the EU, exports to the United States fell but exports to South Korea and China both rose.

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