UK manufacturing output rose only 0.1 per cent in January, its weakest increase since last April. But this ninth straight monthly rise in manufacturing output marked the longest run of increases since records began in 1968.

Broad industrial production rose 1.3% as oil and gas extraction leapt 32.3% on the Forties pipeline reopening, seasonally adjusted official data show.

The National Institute of Economic and Social Research estimated UK gross domestic product in the December to February period would have been up only 0.3% on the preceding three months.