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UK economy gathers pace after factory output spikes

Britain’s economy accelerated at the start of the year, defying fears of a ­slowdown to give the Chancellor a healthier backdrop for this month’s Spring Statement.
Industrial output surged in January as the Forties North Sea oil pipeline re-opened, according to new forecasts.
Official data this Friday is expected to show industrial production jumped 1.5pc on the month, reversing December’s 1.3pc fall. That should boost ­output 1.9pc, compared with last year.
This should also improve Britain’s trade balance in the month, as the ­Forties closure meant more oil had to be imported late last year.
UK economy gathers pace after factory output spikes

Philip Hammond should get a boost from improved economy growth figures at this month's Spring Statement

Credit:
Eddie Mulholland
Economists estimated the trade ­deficit shrank to ?3.15bn, from ?4.9bn in December. Strong growth across the world should keep this going for the rest of the year.
“If we are right in expecting global growth to remain solid, then UK export volumes could continue to grow at an annual rate of over 5pc in 2018,” said Ruth Gregory, of Capital Economics.
The CBI’s regular survey of its members found growth exceeded expectations in the private sector in the three months to February, and is expected to keep firming up in the months to come.
Almost all British industries are growing at a faster pace than normal, with factories enjoying strong domestic and foreign orders, business and professional services companies expanding at the fastest pace since mid-2015, and consumer services firms also accelerating. Only retailers reported a significant struggle, in the month in which Toys R Us and Maplin collapsed.
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