Industrial production in the UK rose 1.1 per cent in December over the previous moth, according to latest data released yesterday by the country's Office for National Statistics (ONS).
The figure, which is slightly above economists' consensus forecast of 0.9 per cent, could bring some relief to policy makers and the market participants, raising hopes that Europe's third-largest economy can dispel fears of a triple-dip recession.
A fortnight ago, the UK economy reported a dismal fourth quarter gross domestic product (GDP) with a 0.3-per cent contraction. (See: UK economy close to triple-dip recession after dismal end of 2012 figures)
Commenting on the ONS data, Barclays said, ''It's been an encouraging start to the year for UK manufacturing with further positive month-on-month data coming out of the sector. Whilst this is welcome news, there are still a number of unresolved challenges facing the sector, casting a shadow on future performance.''
Sector-wise, manufacturing grew 1.6 per cent after dropping 0.3 per cent in November. Mining and quarrying was up 1.2 per cent, while oil extraction increased by 3.2 per cent. Energy supply was down 0.9 per cent and water and waste management was dropped 0.2 per cent.
On a quarterly basis, industrial production was down by 1.9 per cent in the fourth quarter compared with the September quarter, the biggest fall since the first quarter of 2009, mostly due to production setbacks in the North Sea oilfields.