• Manufacturing output in January 2012 up 0.1% on the month, up 0.3% on the year
 
Commenting on the manufacturing output figures for January 2012, David Kern, Chief Economist at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said:“These figures were slightly weaker than expected, with a minimal increase in manufacturing and an unexpected decline in the wider production figures. The items that recorded falls are erratic, so they are therefore not too significant.
 
“This new data highlights the difficult circumstances facing the UK economy. Output has been virtually stagnant and although the economy has likely returned to positive growth in the first quarter, any improvement will be very weak. But we mustn’t be too gloomy. A period of sluggish growth is to be expected at a time when tough austerity measures are being implemented, and the eurozone’s problems create challenges for our exporters.
 
“Every effort must be made to sustain growth and help businesses to drive recovery. The MPC must find ways to make QE more effective in stimulating lending to businesses. The Chancellor must act quickly to implement substantial credit easing measures, and use the Budget to help businesses move the economy forward.”