Manufacturing output in the UK recorded a surprise fall of 1.3% in May, the biggest decline since January 2013.
The figure from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) was much weaker than economists’ forecasts of an increase of 0.4%.
Manufacturing data and surveys so far this year have indicated that the sector is growing robustly.
The wider measure of industrial output also fell in May, the ONS figures showed, dropping by 0.7%.
Compared with a year earlier, manufacturing output was up 3.7% in May, down from April’s increase of 4.3%, while annual growth in industrial output slowed to 2.3% from 2.9%.
May’s decline in output echoes a similar stutter in German industrial production, which fell 1.8% in May, figures released on Monday showed.
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