‘The monthly decline reflects a correction from December’s sharp increase and the underlying trend is still for a solid underlying increase in output’. – Tim Clayton, EconomicCalendar.com
In January, British total production experienced a 0.4% decrease compared to the previous month, the Office for National Statistics revealed on Friday. This number was mostly attributed to declines in the water and manufacturing sectors, where production fell 0.7% and 0.9%, accordingly. The largest contribution to January’s fall came from pharmaceutical products that posted a 13.5% drop, following growth of 8.2% in the previous month. However, this kind of change is not unusual for the pharmaceutical industry, as it can be highly volatile due to the timing of contracts. To certain extent, it was counterbalanced by production of transport equipment that increased 2.6% and reached the highest level since April 2016. This growth was supported by a 2.4% gain posted by the wood, paper and printing industry and a 2.3% increase posted by the textile, chemicals and machinery industries. Nevertheless, the largest month-to-month growth was seen in the other mining and quarrying sector, where production advanced 3.6%. Yet, this figure only partially allowed to offset a 8.6% drop in the coal and lignite sector. On an annual basis, the British Production Index increased 3.2% in January. Growth was seen in all four major sectors but the biggest contribution of 2.7% came from manufacturing.