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Industry gets a boost from oil, gas & manufacturing

The industrial sector moved back into growth in March after a slow first three months, according to data from the Office of National Statistics.

The largest contribution to the quarterly growth came from electricity, gas, steam & air conditioning output, which increased by 2.7%.

“The month’s rise was driven partly by a surge in oil and gas production, the strongest since February 2014,” Martin Beck, senior economic advisor to the EY Item Club told the BBC.

Total production output is estimated to have increased by 0.1% between October to December 2014 (4Q14) and January to March 2015 (1Q15). Manufacturing, the largest component of production, is also estimated to have increased by 0.1% between these periods.

The year-on-year total production increase for March is 0.7%, with an increase of 0.5% between February 2015 and March 2015. The largest contribution to this shorter term increase came from mining & quarrying, which increased by 2.6%.

The 0.4% increase in manufacturing output between February 2015 and March 2015 was driven by basic pharmaceutical products & pharmaceutical preparations; other manufacturing & repair; and rubber, plastic products & other non-metallic mineral products.

Nevertheless, in the three months to March 2015, production and manufacturing were 10.2% and 4.8%, respectively, below their figures reached in the pre-downturn GDP peak in January to March 2008 (1Q08).

Howard Archer, chief economist at IHS Global Insight, told the Guardian that “the prospects for manufacturers seem pretty healthy on the domestic demand front, especially for consumer goods”.

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