Photographer: Akos Stiller/Bloomberg

U.K. Industrial Output Barely Rises as Oil and Gas Declines

U.K. industrial production barely rose in February as an increase in manufacturing output was offset by a drop in oil and gas.

Total production gained 0.1 percent as energy output declined 3.8 percent, the Office for National Statistics said in London today. An increase of 0.3 percent had been forecast by economists. Manufacturing rose 0.4 percent amid higher car output.

The figures suggest the industrial sector faltered in the first quarter, with output in the three months through February rising just 0.2 percent. An increase of 0.4 percent will be needed in March to keep production at the level seen in the fourth quarter.

Seven of 13 manufacturing sectors posted gains in February, with transport equipment, machinery and metals increasing the most.

In a separate report, the ONS said construction output fell 0.9 percent following a 2.5 percent decline in January. It leaves the industry needing to grow 10.4 percent in March to maintain unchanged output in the first quarter.

Recent economic surveys have been mixed. While Markit Economics says growth may have accelerated to 0.7 percent from 0.6 percent, British Chambers of Commerce said Thursday the U.K. lost momentum across all sectors of the economy. The first official estimate for the period will be published April 28.

Bank of England officials held the key interest rate at a record-low 0.5 percent Thursday at their last meeting before the May 7 general election.

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