October 7, 2008 / 8:33 AM / 11 years ago

Manufacturing has longest losing streak since '80

An assembly worker in a file photo. REUTERS/File

LONDON (Reuters) - Manufacturing output fell more than expected and for a sixth consecutive month in August to register its longest losing streak since 1980, official data showed on Tuesday.

The figures will compound gloom over the state of the economy and sharpen calls for the Bank of England to cut interest rates on Thursday.

The Office for National Statistics said manufacturing output fell 0.4 percent on the month — twice the drop analysts had expected — and was 1.9 percent lower on the year.

A survey last week showed the manufacturing sector contracted in September at its sharpest rate since records began almost 17 years ago.

“We’ve seen a further deterioration and I think it’s reflecting what the survey was telling us — that the manufacturing sector is accompanying the rest of the economy down,” said George Buckley, chief UK economist at Deutsche Bank.

Manufacturing output fell 0.2 percent on the month in July and has fallen every month since March. The last time it registered six straight monthly falls was between July and December 1980.

Falls were widespread with 10 of the 13 categories registering declines. The transport sector, which includes car manufacturing, was particularly hard hit, falling 2.3 percent on the month.

The wider measure of industrial production, which counts for just under a fifth of the economy, fell a sharper-than-expected 0.6 percent on the month. That took the annual decline to -2.3 percent, the biggest drop since March 2005.

Reporting by David Milliken and Christina Fincher; editing by David Stamp

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