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UK output likely back at January 2008 level

UK economic output has at last regained its pre-recession peak, more than six years after this high point was reached, an independent think-tank has estimated.

The National Institute of Economic and Social Research estimated yesterday that UK gross domestic product in the March to May period was up 0.9 per cent on the preceding three months.

It said: "The continuation of robust economic performance implied by these ­estimates suggests that the level of UK GDP has now surpassed its pre-recession peak, [of] January 2008, by approximately 0.2 per cent."

Figures published yesterday by the Office for National Statistics showed UK manufacturing output rose by 0.4 per cent month-on-month on a seasonally adjusted basis during April - bang in line with City forecasts.

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 per cent in April. Oil and gas extraction fell by 2.2 per cent month-on-month in April. The ONS noted North Sea oil and gas reserves had become increasingly challenging to extract.

Howard Archer, chief UK economist at consultancy IHS Global Insight, said: "A robust gain in industrial production in April indicates that it started off the second quarter on the front foot and is well placed to make a healthy contribution to GDP growth."

He added: "The fact that manufacturing output has expanded month-on-month for five successive months testifies to the solidity of the sector's upturn. This fuels hopes that the sector can make a sustained contribution to balanced UK growth."

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