Manufacturing output increased for a third consecutive month in July, official data showed on Wednesday, in a further sign of recovery in the sector.

The Office for National Statistics said manufacturing output rose 0.2 percent in July, in line with forecasts, and by 1.0 percent on the year.

What they're saying is the manufacturing recovery mode continues, said Philip Shaw, chief economist at Investec.

The wider industrial production measure, which includes the energy industries, also showed a gain of 0.2 percent in July as expected.

But that still left overall output 0.4 percent lower on the year, following sharp decreases in the output of the energy extraction sectors in previous months. Hot weather boosted electricity supply in July.

The ONS predicted maintenance work would further drag on the performance of the oil sector in August.

The figures are unlikely alter expectations the Bank of England will hold interest rates steady at 4.75 percent on Thursday.

But most analysts predict the central bank will repeat its quarter point August hike in November because economic growth has accelerated and inflationary pressures are picking up.

The ONS noted that even long suffering manufacturing was now increasing steadily. In the three months to July, factory output was up 0.9 percent a rate unbeaten since May 2004.

But the recent strength of sterling has cast doubt on whether manufacturers will be able to maintain momentum despite a pick up in the euro zone, Britain's biggest export market.

It's a welcome improvement but not a dramatic improvement and I'm not sure it's anything like enough to drive the acceleration in GDP growth that the Bank of England is looking for in the third quarter, said Ross Walker, an economist at


If we don't get the acceleration in GDP growth that the Bank is expecting, that calls in to question the need for a rate rise as soon as November.