UK economic output in the September to November period was up only 0.3 per cent on the preceding three months, and the manufacturing sector has continued to contract, official figures show.

The three-month-on-three-month growth in gross domestic product of 0.3% was the weakest recorded since the March to May period last year.

The latest figures from the Office for National Statistics show manufacturing output dropped by 0.3% month-on-month in November. Economists had forecast a 0.3% rise. The latest fall in manufacturing output followed a 0.6% drop 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, fell by 0.4% in November.

However, the services sector grew by 0.3% in November and construction output increased by 0.6%, the ONS figures show.

The UK’s global goods trade deficit widened from £11.95 billion in October to £12.02bn in November, according to the ONS.

Howard Archer, chief economic adviser to the EY ITEM Club think-tank, said: “Survey evidence suggests the economy remained lacklustre in December and we expect fourth-quarter GDP growth to have come in at 0.3% quarter-on-quarter.”

He added: “We expect growth to be limited to 0.2% to 0.3% quarter-on-quarter in the first quarter as heightened Brexit uncertainties fuel consumer and business caution. It is possible though that first-quarter growth could be lifted by businesses, and possibly some consumers, stockpiling amid heightened concerns that there will be a disruptive ‘no deal’ UK exit from the EU in late March.”