UK manufacturing picks up in September, ONS figures show

Factory worker

Manufacturing growth sped up in September, as UK factories continued to pick up from a sharp post-referendum drop, official figures show.

Output from manufacturers rose by 0.6% last month, up from 0.2% in August and a 0.9% fall in July, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Drug makers and factories carrying out repairs grew strongly, it said.

However, total industrial production dropped by 0.4% in September after falls in the oil and gas sector.

ONS statistician Kate Davis said “widespread summer maintenance shutdowns” had hampered oil and gas plants in the last three months.

She added: “There are no obvious signs so far of either the weaker pound or post-referendum uncertainties affecting the output of UK factories, which continued broadly in line with recent trends.”

The pound has fallen about 18% against the dollar since the 23 June referendum.

Economists expect the weaker pound to make some manufacturers’ exports more competitive, but others to be hit by more expensive imports.

‘Adding little to growth’

Chris Williamson, chief business economist at IHS Markit, said: “UK manufacturing enjoyed a strong uplift in production in September, confirming earlier upbeat survey evidence which suggests that the sector is faring well since the UK’s vote to leave the EU.”

However, for the third quarter, which covers the first three months since the Brexit result, manufacturing and industrial production fell by 0.9% and 0.5% respectively, compared with the quarter before.

Suren Thiru, head of economics at the British Chambers of Commerce, said: “It is concerning that the longer-term trends show that manufacturing and total industrial output are adding little to overall UK growth.”

[Source:- BBC]