UK Manufacturing Grows as Trade Deficit Narrows

Manufacturing output rose by 0.5% in March, for a strong 1.4% increase in the first quarter, stronger than the overall increase in industrial production, which dipped by 0.1% in March but was up by 0.7% in the first quarter. Some of that was a weather effect, the mild March weather reducing gas and electricity output. More here.

There was also a narrowing of the trade deficit to £1.3 billion in March from £1.7 billion in February. Though the improvement is slow – and both exports and imports are depressed – the trade deficit is narrowing. More here. Goods exports picked up in March, but the service sector – running a surplus of £7.2 billion in the first quarter – is the star performer.

Finally, there was a 0.6% increase in construction output in the first quarter, slightly more than the ONS originally estimated. More here.

These numbers confirm the manufacturing recovery and that there is a degree of rebalancing occurring the economy, though much more of both is needed.

This piece is cross-posted from with permission.