UK industrial output rises 2% in March

Nissan car factory UK manufacturing helped drive the growth

UK industrial output saw its strongest monthly expansion in almost eight years in March, official figures have shown.

Output rose by 2.0% compared with February, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said. Analysts had expected a 0.3% rise.

Strong export demand contributed to a powerful performance by manufacturers.

The ONS estimated that the data would add 0.1 percentage points to the UK's first-quarter GDP growth - initially estimated at 0.2%.

'Broad-based recovery'

Manufacturing output rose by 2.3% on a month-on-month basis.

The transport and metal sectors of manufacturing had done particularly well, the ONS said.

There have been hopes that a weak pound would boost the UK economy by making its exports cheaper.

The EEF manufacturing group said the UK was seeing "a broad-based recovery for a sector hard hit by the recession".

But its chief economist, Lee Hopley, said that a "credible plan to repair the public finances" was needed to "both reassure financial markets and underpin a sustainable recovery".

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