UK's manufacturing sector output surprisingly accelerated in May, spurred by an additional working day after a public holiday linked to the queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations was moved to June.
Factory output rose by 1.2% in May from April, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said today in London.
The median forecast of economists was for a decline of 0.1%.
Overall industrial output in the UK was up by 1% in May compared to the previous month.
The statistics office said that both May and June data may be distorted by the movement of traditional end-of-May bank holiday to June.
Compared to May 2011, the UK's manufacturing output declined 1.7% while the industrial production fell 1.6%, a 14th consecutive annual decline.
Economists had forecast a drop of 2.2% year-on-year in the manufacturing output while the industrial production was expected to fall 2% from last year.
Out of 13 categories in manufacturing, eight rose in May from the previous month and five declined, the ONS said.
In the three months through May, UK's manufacturing output fell 0.2% compared with the previous three months. In May, the British factory output was down 1.7% from a year earlier.
On a three-month basis, industrial production declined 0.3% from the previous quarter.
Separate data today showed that Britain's seasonally-adjusted trade deficit in goods narrowed to £8.4bn (US$13bn) in May from £9.7bn in April, the statistics office reported today. Economists had forecast a deficit of £9bn.
The ONS said that exports rose 7.8% in May from April, led by cars, oil and chemicals. Imports increased 1.5%.
The trade balance on services was flat in May at £5.65bn, leaving the total trade deficit at £2.72bn.
The National Institute of Economic and Social Research will publish its gross domestic product (GDP) estimate for the second quarter later today. Britain’s economy shrank 0.3% in the first quarter after contracting by 0.4% in the previous three months.