Manufacturing in the U.K. surprised economists by falling 1% in February, when they had expected it to increase by a small margin. To add to the glum news, January’s numbers were adjusted downward as well.
Bloomberg reported Thursday that in a survey of economists, expectations were for an increase in manufacturing of 0.1% for the month of February. Instead, according to the Office for National Statistics in London, manufacturing fell 1% for the month, the most since April of 2011, and for the second month in a row. The numbers for January, which originally indicated an increase of 0.1%, were adjusted downward to show a fall of 0.3%.
While reports released this week showed accelerated expansion in services, manufacturing and construction, likely indicating a return to growth in the first quarter, the British Chamber of Commerce said that the recovery was “weak.” The Bank of England left its current targets unchanged despite the unexpected news, although there is some expectation that the next round of quantitative easing may be increased.