The seasonally adjusted, 0.4% month-on-month rise in manufacturing output, unveiled yesterday by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), followed a 1.2% surge in September and was in line with City forecasts.
Separate figures published by the ONS showed the UK's deficit on trade in goods with the rest of the world narrowed from £10.1 billion in September to £9.73bn in October. This was wider than the £9.35bn October goods trade deficit forecast by the City.
The UK's goods exports dipped from £24.97bn in September to £24.66bn in October. However, a fall in imports, from £35.07bn to £34.39bn, enabled a narrowing of the goods trade deficit.
While the overall goods trade deficit narrowed, there was a deterioration in terms of the European Union. The UK's deficit on trade in goods with other countries in the EU widened from £6.21bn to £6.48bn. In contrast, the overall deficit on trade in goods with countries outside the EU narrowed from £3.89bn to £3.25bn.
The UK's total trade deficit, taking into account the surplus on services as well as the shortfall on goods trade, narrowed marginally from a downwardly revised £2.64bn in September to £2.62bn in October.
Broader industrial production, which includes mining and quarrying, oil and gas extraction, and electricity, gas and water supply as well as manufacturing output, also rose by 0.4% month-on-month in October, according to the ONS figures. This was slightly ahead of the 0.3% rise projected by the City.
The National Institute of Economic and Social Research estimated yesterday that UK gross domestic product in the September to November period would have been 0.8% higher than in the preceding three months.
David Kern, chief economist at the British Chambers of Commerce, said of the latest industrial production and trade figures: "These figures show that the economy has continued growing into the fourth quarter of the year, which will boost business confidence and encourage companies to invest. But they also highlight the economic challenges that remain. Though manufacturing is recovering, output is almost 9% below its pre-crisis level. The share of manufacturing in the economy has fallen considerably in recent years but the sector has maintained its skills base during the downturn and there is scope for improvement in the future."
He added: "We still have a large trade deficit and not enough progress is being made to rebalance the economy towards net exports … Problems in the eurozone remain a major challenge for our exporters, especially given the record deficit with the EU in October. This shows there is a need to diversify our trade efforts."
Howard Archer, chief UK economist at consultancy IHS Global Insight, said: "Good news for the UK economy is that industrial production saw very decent growth in October, which sets it up well for robust fourth-quarter expansion. The bad news is that the trade deficit remained worryingly large in October."
He added: "There continues to be little sign of a pick-up in UK exports, which is worrying for hopes that exports can play a role in helping UK growth to become more balanced. It is hard seeing net trade making a significant positive contribution to UK growth anytime soon."