Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce applauds increase in manufacturing

By Roger Baird

The Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce has welcomed an increase in manufacturing figures for the UK in August after output fell in July.

But the body said that manufacturers were still facing global headwinds from the eurozone to Russia and beyond.

The Office for National Statistics said manufacturing rose by 0.5% in August, in line with forecasts, following a 0.7% fall in July, boosted by food and drink manufacturing and basic metal production.

The sector's July slowdown was caused by an early holiday shutdown of car plants.

The wider industrial production sector also increased by a better-than-expected 1% in August compared with July, buoyed by mining and quarrying.

The news will be welcomed by UK manufacturers who have struggled this year due to weak demand from the eurozone and a strong pound.

But the ONS also said manufacturing output was down 0.8% year-on-year - a trend which will influence the Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee, which is expected to keep interest rates at a record 0.5% low today.

Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce chief executive Ann McGregor said: "It is welcome news to see that manufacturing figures picked up in August after disappointing declines in July.

"However, the manufacturing sector is still facing many problems driven by difficult global circumstances. Eurozone growth remains weak, and there are serious problems in major economies such as China, Japan, Brazil and Russia."

Belfast Telegraph