Manufacturing slightly buoyed by electronics in March

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“Encouraging” but not out of the woods

Computing and electronics are part of the reason for recovery in the UK’s manufacturing output – which increased 0.9 percent over March.

Manufacturing dropped by a significant 1.1 percent in February but the chemicals, transport equipment, electronics and computers helped the figures for March look a little more promising.

Still, the seasonally adjusted index of manufacturing for March – from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) – revealed a drop of 0.9 percent compared to the same time last year.

Between the fourth quarter of 2011 and the first of 2012, manufacturing overall was flat following two consecutive quarterly decreases.

Manufacturing of electrical equipment industries rose 12.1 percent quarter on quarter, which offset a drop in the food, beverages and tobacco industries, and the manufacture of rubber and plastic products industries, which fell 1.8 percent and 4.2 percent respectively.

Ohillip Shaw from Investec told the BBC that the near-recovery was “encouraging”. Andrew Johnson of the EEF manufacturers’ organisation said the ONS’ figures suggest manufacturing is off to a better start in 2012 than it was by the end of 2011. He added that challenges in major European markets “remain formidable”.


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