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By Michael Northcott Friday, 11 January 2013

More fuel for triple-dip fears as industrial figures stagnate

The latest figures on British industrial output from the ONS do not fill one with oodles of confidence. A sharp drop in construction has added to fears that the economy contracted once again in Q4.

The figures show that the index of production grew 0.3% in November last year compared with the previous month, but analysts had been expecting a much higher rate of growth because of North Sea fossil fuels production getting back on course after some maintenance.

Furthermore, output in the construction sector fell by a woeful 3.4% in the same month. You can probably put some of that down to the flooding that plagued many regions in the UK throughout November, as it is rather difficult to lay bricks in the pouring rain. 

So the month-on-month figures are not too good, but the year-on-years are pretty poor, too. Compared with the previous November, industrial output was down 2.4%. In the construction sector, the year-on-year drop was 9.8%.

All of this is compounding fears that the UK could be headed for a triple dip recession. Earlier this week, we found out that retail sales just about managed to stay afloat over the key Christmas period, and the trade deficit contract slower than analysts were expecting, too.

We’re running out of metrics to pin our hopes on, folks, but at least it seems to have stopped raining for the first time in a month...

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