July 10, 2012 / 8:38 AM / 8 years ago

Extra working day drives rise in industrial output

LONDON (Reuters) - British manufacturing output rose unexpectedly in May as an extra working day due to a postponed public holiday allowed for more work, official data showed on Tuesday.

However, a downward revision to previous industrial output and manufacturing numbers increased the risk that the overall economy shrank again between April to June, leaving Britain in recession with a third consecutive quarter of contraction.

Manufacturing output rose by 1.2 percent in May after a 0.8 percent drop in April, the Office for National Statistics said, Economists had forecast no change on the month.

A wider reading of industrial output, which includes energy production and mining, was 1.0 percent higher in May after a 0.4 percent drop in April and against forecasts for 0.2 percent fall.

The ONS said a public holiday usually scheduled for the end of May was moved to June for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, for which yet another extra holiday had been added.

Those two holidays will drag on June’s production figures, leaving little chance that output rose on the quarter.

The figures overall echo a recent weakening in business surveys and come after the Bank of England announced plans last week to inject another 50 billion pounds of stimulus into markets to boost demand.

Britain’s trade deficit narrowed in May as exports rose, a separate release showed.

The goods trade deficit shrank to 8.363 billion pounds in May from 9.709 billion pounds in April, the ONS said. Economists had forecast a deficit of 9.0 billion pounds.

Britain’s economy sank back into recession at the start of the year and has suffered as a debt crisis rages through Europe, it’s main trading partner.

The growth stifling crisis has wreaked havoc across the continent and beyond, threatening to implode the common currency, and is so far showing few signs of abating.

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