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British Manufacturing Decline Casts Doubt on Recovery: Economy

U.K. manufacturing unexpectedly shrank in May amid a drop in pharmaceuticals and metals output, casting doubts on the strength of the economic recovery in the second quarter.

Factory output fell 0.8 percent from April, when it declined 0.2 percent, the Office for National Statistics said today in London. The median forecast of 25 economists in a Bloomberg News survey was a 0.4 percent increase. Total industrial production was unchanged, thanks to an increase in oil and gas production. Separate data showed the goods-trade gap was little changed at 8.5 billion pounds ($12.6 billion).