Index of Production: March
The strong momentum in the manufacturing sector was confirmed by a 4th consecutive monthly rise in output in March. Solid gains were seen in the pharmaceuticals, transport and food sectors.
Manufacturing production increased by 1.4% over the first quarter, a slightly stronger pace of expansion than indicated in the preliminary Q1 GDP data and the largest quarterly rise since mid-2010.
Output is now at its highest level in more than two and a half years.
Trade data: March and Q1 2014
The data showed a welcome pick-up in goods exports in March, but this was not enough to offset earlier weakness, with first quarter figures not as positive.
Exports of goods increased by nearly 5% between February and March helped by an increase in exports of finished manufactured goods, including jewellery and cars, which showed growth of £0.6bn.
On the quarter, goods exports to the EU dropped by £1.3bn, looking at the commodity level, all areas experienced a fall except cars (up £270m). Non-EU goods exports also saw a decrease, whilst the bright spot at the commodity level was consumer goods (excluding cars) which saw an increase of £318m.