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Manufacturing down but trade deficit shrinks

British manufacturing output fell 5.5% in the first quarter of 2009 compared with the previous quarter, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Meanwhile, in a separate release, the ONS said that Britains trade deficit on trade in goods and services narrowed to 2.5 billion in March from 2.8 billion in February. Excluding oil and erratic items, the volume of exports and imports were both 4% lower in March than February.

According to the ONS, manufacturing output fell 13.1% compared with the same quarter last year, and declined in 11 of the 13 sub-sectors. However between February and March, manufacturing output only fell by 0.1%, the lowest rate of decline for 13 months.

Total production output fell 5.3% in the first quarter of this year compared with the previous quarter, and was down 12.1% on the same quarter last year.

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