Manufacturing output slumps to six-year low
Output in Britain's manufacturing sector suffered its sharpest decline since 2012 in April, painting a worrying picture for the country's growth prospects at the start of the second quarter.
Official data from the Office for National Statistics showed that manufacturing output fell by 1.4% month on month, the steepest decline since October 2012.
The figure was well below economists' expectations of 0.3% growth.
Lacklustre manufacturing data helped drag down overall industrial output, which fell 0.8% in April, also below forecasts.
Rob Kent-Smith, head of national accounts at the ONS, said: "Manufacturing fell in the three months to April with electrical machinery and steel for infrastructure projects seeing reduced production.
"International demand continued to slow and the domestic market remained subdued."
Construction bounced back slightly in April following three consecutive months of contraction, nudging up 0.5% month on month.
But on a three-month basis to April, construction output fell by 3.4%, the biggest fall since August 2012.