The UK manufacturing sector is growing at its fastest rate for three years, according to official figures.
The Financial Times reports that figures released by the Office for National Statistics show that manufacturing output increased by 0.4 per cent between March and April. This contributed to an annual growth rate of 4.4 per cent.
The result is seen as evidence that the British economic recovery is broadening.
This view was reinforced by a strong result for overall production which rose by 0.4 per cent between March and April and contributed to an annual growth rate to 3 per cent.
On the negative side, exports were lower than expected. According to figures released last week, the UK’s trade deficit widened in April and manufacturing exports fell.
The figures are in line with other good results released in recent times. For example, the Markit/CIPS UK Purchasing Managers’ Index for May was 57.0. (Readings above 50 correspond to expansion, while figures under 50 indicate contraction in activity).
"Britain's factories are booming, enjoying their best spell of growth for four years," Chris Williamson, chief economist at Markit told the Guardian.
"The data not only indicate that the recovery has strong momentum, but also that the economy is rebalancing, though there is still a long way to go before manufacturing even regains its pre-recession size."