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Slow British manufacturing output sparks fears of triple-dip recesssion

Fears Britain is heading for a triple-dip recession have been fuelled by figures showing manufacturing output shrinking unexpectedly in November.

Factory output fell 0.3% month-on-month on the back of a 1.3% decline in October, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.

Manufacturing output was reduced in November. Credit: Danny Lawson/PA Wire/Press Association Images

The wider measure of industrial production edged up 0.3% but was below forecasts for a 0.8% rise.

The numbers add to a recent flow of disappointing economic data, stoking concerns of a fresh contraction in the fourth quarter and that the UK economy could be on the verge of recession again if activity remains under pressure in the first quarter of the year.

Spanish recession prompts Catalans to seek independence

The pain of recession in Spain has persuaded the people of its Catalan region to edge ever closer to independence.

Elections for its local Parliament gave almost two-thirds of the seats to parties who want a referendum on breaking away.

Catalonia in northeastern Spain has a population of 7.5 million and includes Barcelona, Spain's second biggest city.

Catalonia also produces 20 percent of Spain's GDP and its economy matches Portugal's.

From Barcelona, our Europe Editor James Mates reports.


ONS releases statistics for second quarter of 2012


Labour: 'Complacent Chancellor Osborne should drop failed plan'

Rachel Reeves MP, Labour’s Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury, responding to the revised GDP figures, said:

Any small upward revision in growth figures is welcome, but our economy is still in the longest double-dip recession since the Second World War and that’s why borrowing so far this year has risen by a quarter compared to last year.

David Cameron and George Osborne’s plan has badly failed. Since the spending review our economy has shrunk by 0.6%. And with Britain just one of two G20 countries in a double-dip it is clear that this is a recession made in Downing Street.

Thank goodness the Olympics will have a positive effect on the next quarter’s growth figures, but this short term boost is not the long-term strategy we need. We urgently need a change of course and a plan for jobs and growth to stop permanent damage being done, as the IMF has warned. The longer this complacent Chancellor clings on to his failed plan, the heavier the price our country will pay.

Diamond Jubilee and poor weather dampened GDP figures

The GDP figures released today suggest that the extra bank holiday for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee and the washout start to the summer did not have as much of an effect as previously feared.

Economists believe the extra bank holiday may have knocked as much as 0.5% off GDP, but the ONS said it was too early to measure the effect.

There are fears that the economy will struggle to pull out of its double-dip recession in the current quarter as the eurozone debt crisis slows global growth.

Economist: 'Doubtful that a strong recovery lies ahead'

Vicky Redwood, Chief UK Economist at Capital Economics has said:

"UK GDP was revised up in Q2 as expected, but the revision is very small in the big picture and means that output is still more than 4% below its pre-recession peak.

"Remember that the extra bank holiday probably knocked about 0.5% off GDP. But even so, underlying output is just stagnating. What’s more, the spending breakdown shows a strong contribution to growth in Q2 from stockbuilding (an unsustainable source of strength).

"Consumer spending and investment both fell and net trade knocked a full 1 percentage point off quarterly growth. Of course, the GDP figures may in the future be revised up further.

"Nonetheless, given the drags from the fiscal squeeze, euro-zone crisis and high domestic debt levels, we still doubt that a strong recovery lies ahead. "

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