London, United Kingdom (4E) – UK industrial output stayed flat in January due to severe weather caused by the North Sea oil and gas extraction, and production of pharmaceutical products declined at the most significant pace in more than 40 years.
Industrial production inched up 0.1 percent in January from December, lower compared with the 0.5 percent gain the previous month, the ONS said. Economists polled by The Wall Street Journal poll forecast a slightly higher growth of 0.2 percent.
The latest result shows the impact of storms and heavy rainfall on the economy at the end of last year and the beginning of 2014, according to data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS). The weak start of the industrial sector at the start of the year indicates a slow growth in the first quarter.
The British economy climbed 0.7 percent on quarter in the October to December period, or an annualized rate of 2.8 percent.
The industrial sector accounts for less than one-sixth of the economy’s total output.
Production of pharmaceutical products, which is typically volatile, dropped 13.9 percent in January from the previous month, the largest decline since February 1968. Gains in the production of other goods indicate that manufacturing rose 0.4 percent from the previous month.