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British manufacturing output increased in December

Amid all the doom and gloom surrounding the UK economy the Office for National Statistics today revealed a 0.9% increase in manufacturing output in December and an upwardly revised figure of 0.2% for November. These figures are way ahead of analyst expectations and would appear to show that the 0.1% increase in gross domestic product in the final quarter of 2009 could be revised higher. But can we really trust these figures?

The problem for economists and analysts is the fact that economic statistics at the moment are proving less and less reliable. We have seen revisions upwards, we have seen revisions downwards and we have seen figures which quite frankly nobody can believe. The assumption is that "all things being equal" we should see a revision of economic growth in the final quarter of 2009 to greater than the 0.1% figure initially released.

In many ways the performance of the UK economy is proving more difficult to forecast than ever before with literally two steps forward and one step back. In reality retail spending is under pressure, bank liquidity lending targets will be missed and we are seeing upwards of 10,000 people a month declared insolvent. Quite what the next raft of economic figures will show is anybody's guess!

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