Mining and quarrying slump drags UK production down

A slowdown in mining and quarrying output has led to an overall fall in UK production, official figures show, raising fears that the economic recovery may be running out of steam.

The seasonally-adjusted index of production fell 2.6% in September 2012 compared with the same month last year, says the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Overall production fell 1.7% between August and September 2012.

But mining and quarrying fell 15.3%.

The manufacturing index, which specifically measures factory output, rose 0.1% in September compared with August, but fell 1% year-on-year.

The manufacturing sector suffering the biggest fall was chemicals and chemical products, which fell 9.6% year-on-year, whereas transport equipment rose 8.2%.

The ONS index of production includes manufacturing and energy, as well as mining and quarrying, and is therefore considered to be a more comprehensive indicator of the economy as a whole.

Samuel Tombs, UK economist at Capital Economics, said the figures suggested "the economic recovery is quickly losing momentum again".

He added that the manufacturing sector "is still struggling".

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