Mixed results for UK manufacturing and exports

The UK's hopes of avoiding a return to recession remain in the balance after the Office for National Statistics (ONS) released mixed figures on manufacturing and exports.

A general view of Southampton Docks as  the Office for National Statistics (ONS) released mixed figures on manufacturing and exports.
A general view of Southampton Docks as the Office for National Statistics (ONS) released mixed figures on manufacturing and exports. Credit: Gareth Fuller/PA

Economists were cheered by a month-on-month improvement of 0.8% in factory output for February, reversing some of the 1.9% slide in January.

But separate figures from the ONS also showed a widening in the UK's trade deficit, largely due to a 1.1% fall in exports amid weaker demand from the beleaguered eurozone.

The UK will duck its third recession since the start of the financial crisis if GDP figures on 25th April avoid a second quarter in a row of contraction.

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Mixed news for the economy

There is mixed news for the economy. Retail sales for last month rose by 1.9% compared to March last year and there was an 0.8% in factory output for February. But the UK's trade deficit widened, mainly caused by a 1.1% fall in exports.