UK industrial output sees surprise fall in April

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Nissan car factory
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Despite the monthly fall, analysts say the underlying trend is positive

UK industrial output fell unexpectedly in April, but economists have said the figures should not be a cause for concern.

Output fell by 0.4% compared with March, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said, whereas a rise of 0.4% had been forecast.

It was the first fall in monthly production since January.

Experts said the drop should be seen as a correction after a particularly strong jump in output in March of 2%.

Over the year, output is still rising, as levels were 2.1% higher than in April 2009.

Overall trend

Manufacturing output also fell by 0.4% on the month, but was up 3.4% year-on-year.

"The volatile monthly movements in these figures are somewhat at odds with more positive survey indicators though they conceal a solid year-on-year increase in output," said Lee Hopley, chief economist at the EEF manufacturers' organisation.

Malcolm Barr at JP Morgan said: "I think it is fair to say, relative to people's expectations going into the report, the decline in headline production and manufacturing output is probably a little bit of a surprise and a bit of a disappointment.

"However I don't think it really does a lot to damage the perception that the trend is towards ongoing increases in industrial output."

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