UK manufacturing output saw an unexpected rise in January, although overall industrial production continued to decrease because of weaker activity in the extraction industries.
Figures from the Office of National Statistics showed manufacturing output, which makes up about 15 per cent of the UK economy, grew 0.4 per cent on the month in January, the strongest rise since October 2007, for a 0.6 per cent yearly rise.
This was well above analysts' expectations for no growth on the month and only a 0.1 per cent yearly rate.
The monthly gains were mainly due to stronger activity in the machinery, equipment and chemical industries, whereas the production of transport equipment weighed somewhat.
In December, manufacturing output fell 0.2 per cent on the month for a 0.1 per cent annual growth rate.
The wider measure of industrial production, which makes up just under a fifth of GDP, fell 0.1 per cent on the month for a 0.4 per cent annual rate. Analysts are expecting a 0.1 per cent monthly decline and a 0.3 per cent yearly rate.
The fall in industrial production in January was due to weaker activity in the extraction industries, with mining and quarrying down 4.1 per cent on the month. Oil and gas was down 2.6 per cent.
An ONS spokesman said this drop was not caused by any particular events or trends, but was due to particularly strong activity in December.
In the three months to January, both manufacturing and industrial production were flat compared with the previous quarter.