Medicine eases manufacturing headache
Manufacturing expanded at its fastest pace in four years in April, defying expectations of further contraction.
Factory output increased by 2.3%, the biggest monthly surge since July 2012 and well ahead of forecasts of a small decline, prompting speculation that GDP will accelerate in the three months to June.
The biggest contribution came from pharmaceuticals production, which rose by 8.6% month on month – a rate of growth that is unlikely to be repeated. Economists said a rise in electricity and gas use may have been driven by unusually cool weather in April.
The surprisingly strong figures from the Office for National Statistics took markets by surprise and triggered a brief bounce in the pound, which climbed from $1.4530 to $1.4580 immediately after the release before giving up some of the gains.
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