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Factories record a modest rise in output this month

By Roger Baird

The UK’s manufacturing sector saw a modest rise in June as official figures showed hopes of putting factories at the centre of the economic recovery have yet to gain traction.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said that manufacturing output increased 0.2% last month compared to May, lifted by a rise in the production of basic metals and metal products. The rise follows two months of falls for manufacturing prior to June.

The wider industrial production sector fell by 0.4% last month compared to May, dragged down by falls in output in the mining and quarrying industries. Economists had expected a rise in industrial production of 0.1% in June.

UK manufacturers have struggled this year due to weak demand from crisis-stricken Europe and a sharp strengthening of the pound.

The slow pace in manufacturing growth dents hopes of a re-balancing of the recovery, which is being led by the services sector.

David Kern, chief economist of the British Chambers of Commerce, said manufacturing remained “a vital sector for exports, innovation and productivity”.

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