Growth in British factories surged to its fastest pace since 2016 in January after production rebounded from the reopening of the cracked Forties oil and gas pipeline in the North Sea.
Manufacturing posted its 9th consecutive monthly rise, the first time this has happened since ONS records began in 1968.
Production in mining and quarrying, which includes oil and gas, jumped 23.5 per cent due to the reopening but monthly manufacturing growth slipped back to 0.1 per cent
Monthly construction growth plunged 3.4 per cent, its lowest level in over five years as Carillion’s collapse begins to hit the sector’s figures.
Meanwhile the total UK trade deficit widened by £3.4 billion to £8.7 billion in the three months to January 2018; excluding erratic commodities, the deficit widened by £2.6 billion to £8.9 billion.
The £3.4 billion widening was due to a £3.2 billion widening of the trade in goods deficit and a £0.2 billion narrowing of the trade in services surplus while the widening of the trade in goods deficit was due mainly to a £1.3 billion increase in imports (particularly fuels) from non-EU countries, combined with a £1.2 billion decrease in exports (including fuels) to non-EU countries, in the three months to January 2018.
Large decreases in fuels export volumes combined with increases in fuels import prices had the largest impact on the widening of the trade in goods deficit in the three months to January 2018 said the ONS.