Industrial output flatlined in September, reinforcing the picture of lacklustre growth, despite a modest rise in manufacturing output, official data showed on Tuesday.
The Office for National Statistics said that manufacturing output rose 0.2 percent in September after a 0.3 percent decline in August, and slightly above economists' forecasts for a reading of 0.1 percent.
The wider measure of industrial output, which includes utility output and oil and gas extraction, was flat on the month, however, below forecasts for a 0.1 percent rise and after a 0.3 percent gain in August.
The drop in industrial output was driven by falls in oil and gas extraction and utilities output. Still, total output in the three months to September rose 0.4 percent compared with the previous three-month period -- the biggest rise since January. That was below the 0.5 percent growth estimated in last week's preliminary estimate of third-quarter GDP.
The ONS said the lower three-month outturn would have a negligible downward impact on Q3 GDP, however.
Within the manufacturing sector, six sub-sectors recorded a rise in output in September, and five fell. The main risers were transport equipment, basic metals and metal products and machinery and equipment.
The biggest falls were recorded in the food, drink and tobacco, computer, electronic and optical equipment and chemical and chemical products sectors.
The figures come after a survey last week showed manufacturing activity fell at its sharpest pace since Britain was in recession two years ago, and will do little to diminish fears it is heading for another downturn.
Worries about the growth outlook encouraged the Bank of England to restart its quantitative easing programme last month with an initial 75 billion pounds injection of cash, and a growing number of economists think the central bank may have to do more.