Reacting to today's publication by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) of Industrial and Manufacturing Output figures for May 2006, David Kern, Economic Adviser to the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said:

"Today's manufacturing figures for May 2006 were positive, but this must not be used to support the clamour in some quarters for higher interest rates. Though manufacturing output recorded a welcome improvement in recent months, it is much too early to talk about sustained recovery."

"Manufacturing output rose by 0.5% between April and May 2006, slightly better than expected. In the three months March-May 2006, manufacturing increased by 0.7% compared with the previous three months, and by 1.0% compared with the same period a year ago.

David Kern concluded: "The upturn seen in 2006 follows a decline of 1.1% in 2005 as a whole, and the sector has recorded full-year  declines in output in three out of the last five years. The recent manufacturing recovery is still fragile and could easily go into reverse. Renewed manufacturing setbacks are a serious risk. Calls for higher interest rates are unjustified and should be forcefully rejected."