By Jason Douglas and Wiktor Szary
LONDON--British industrial production grew strongly in November following a revival in North Sea oil and gas production, adding to signs the economy expanded healthily in the final quarter of 2016.
The U.K. Office for National Statistics said Wednesday that industrial production rose 2.1% on the month in November, fueled by North Sea oil and gas. North Sea output rose due to the reopening of Buzzard, one of the U.K.'s largest oilfields, which had been shut for maintenance for longer than usual.
Manufacturing output also boosted overall production, rising 1.3%, driven by sectors including pharmaceuticals, electrical equipment and transport.
The data come after surveys painted a healthy picture of consumer spending in the final quarter of the year, suggesting the economy largely maintained its post-referendum momentum. Voters in June elected to leave the European Union but an anticipated slowdown has yet to materialize. The International Monetary Fund predicts the U.K. will be one of the fastest-growing major economies this year.
Still, most economists expect the U.K. economy to lose speed through 2017 as accelerating inflation squeezes consumer spending. They also expect uncertainty over the U.K.'s future ties to the EU to weigh on business investment. Prime Minister Theresa May has said she intends to begin formal divorce talks with the EU before the end of March but the final shape of any deal remains unclear.
The ONS also said Wednesday that British exports of goods and services increased to a record high in November but the nation's trade deficit widened, as the country sucked in more imports from abroad. The deficit on goods trade widenedto 12.2 billion pounds ($14.98 billion) in November from GBP9.89 billion in October. Including services, the overall deficit widened to GBP4.2 billion from GBP1.5 billion. Trade was a drag on growth in the third quarter, despite a sharp fall in the pound.
Output in the construction sector, which has been more or less flat for several months, declined 0.2% in November compared with October, the ONS said.
Write to Jason Douglas at firstname.lastname@example.org and Wiktor Szary at email@example.com
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
January 11, 2017 04:52 ET (09:52 GMT)
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