“These figures are slightly worse than expected, but it is likely they were impacted by the bad weather in December. Despite the slight output fall, evidence suggests that the manufacturing recovery continued and will have gathered momentum in January.
“While it would appear that the economy is starting to rebalance, the manufacturing recovery is not yet being reflected in an improvement in our international trading position. The sector faces many challenges in the months ahead, not least coping with the impact of the government’s deficit-cutting programme.“Given the uncertain background facing the economy, it is important to strengthen and reinforce the manufacturing recovery. In particular, businesses must be able to retain valuable skills and UK exporters should not be at a disadvantage in key areas such as trade finance, export insurance and trade promotion.”