ONS data points to ‘positive end’ to 2016 for UK manufacturing

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Manufacturing production is estimated to have grown by 1.3% last November compared with October, data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has shown.

The largest contribution came from pharmaceuticals, which showed growth of 11.4%, followed by electrical equipment at 3.3% and rubber and plastic products at 2.1%.

ONS said that pharmaceuticals can be highly erratic, with significant monthly changes, often due to the delivery of large contracts.

The data comes from the UK index of production and measures the volume of production at base year prices for the manufacturing, mining and quarrying, energy supply, and water and waste industries. Overall, total production from the index was estimated to have increased by 2.1% in November compared with October 2016.

ONS said the overall increase in production was due to an increase in mining and quarrying output following the end of a maintenance period in the oil and gas industry and an increase in manufacturing.

Month on same month a year ago growth also grew by 2% overall when comparing November 2016 and November 2015, with increases in all four main sectors. The largest contribution came from manufacturing at 1.2%, ONS added.

Lee Hopley, chief economist at EEF, said: “Validating recent business surveys, the official statistics are pointing to a pretty positive end to 2016 for UK manufacturing.

“The solid month on month growth in production in November appears broad based across the industry and, even taking account of the erratic pharmaceuticals output numbers, we should see output expand over the year overall.”

Hopley added: “Similarly, the trade figures confirm that a rosy combination of improving demand indicators in key markets and a weaker exchange rate are providing a supportive boost to manufactured exports.

“We should see some momentum from the decent output and trade performance at the end of last year carry into 2017.”