The Office of National Statistics (ONS) has released today the numbers for the change in the UK’s industrial production. There’s not much surprise in this, industrial production was up a bit, manufacturing up a bit more than that and oil and gas production down a bit. Given that industrial production is the sum of manufacturing and raw materials production the overall number is a slight rise. There’s two things we should say about this: the first is that this isn’t actually all that important a number. People still look at it but the importance that is attached to it is overdone. Historically it was much more important and people tend to be weighting it from that historical experience rather than today’s. The other point to note is what the usual news reports are not saying about this. Which is that the decline in the oil and gas sector has an obvious cause, one that isn’t being highlighted.
UK industrial production edged up by a lower-than-expected 0.1 per cent month on month in February, following a disappointing start to the year, suggesting slower GDP growth in the first quarter of this year.