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Industrial output hit by severe weather

UK industrial production rose by only 0.1% in January, as oil and gas extraction tumbled 5.8% month-on-month amid severe weather in the North Sea, official figures have shown.

The City had predicted a 0.2% rise in industrial production in January.

The tumble in oil and gas extraction in January left it down 7.4% on the same month of 2013.

Publishing the industrial production figures yesterday, the Office for National Statistics said: "Anecdotal evidence suggests that the severe weather conditions across the North Sea hampered production during January and was therefore a contributing factor to the reported decrease in output."

UK manufacturing output rose by 0.4% in January, slightly greater than the 0.3% increase forecast by the City.

Howard Archer, chief UK economist at consultancy IHS Global Insight, said: "While industrial production rose by a less-than-expected 0.1% month-on-month in January, this was limited by a 5.8% drop in oil and gas production influenced by severe weather conditions in the North Sea.

"Oil and gas production can be notoriously volatile, and the key takeaway is that the manufacturing sector looks alive and well early on in 2014 with output healthy in January."

According to the ONS data, the rise in manufacturing output was broadly based. The ONS recorded an increase in output in nine of the 13 manufacturing sub-sectors between December and January.

The National Institute of Economic and Social Research, an independent think-tank, yesterday estimated that UK gross domestic product in the December to February period was 0.8% greater than in the preceding three months.

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