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Britain posts bright economic data amid Brexit gloom

 

Britain's industrial output rebounded in September and the trade deficit improved despite gloom over Brexit, official data showed Friday.

Industrial output rose 0.7 percent compared with activity in August, with a solid contribution from manufacturing, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said in a statement.

It was a sixth successive month of expanding industrial production for the first time in 23 years, and outpaced market expectations for 0.3-percent growth.

Manufacturing output, which excludes mining and quarrying, electricity, gas and water supply, also grew 0.7 percent in September from August.

However on the downside, construction activity declined by a steep 1.6 percent.

The ONS added that Britain's deficit in goods and services, the gap between exports and imports, shrank by £700 million to £2.8 billion in September.

Chris Williamson, IHS Markit (Stuttgart: A1139A - news) 's chief business economist, said Friday's data pointed to a "multi-speed economy" that is not firing on all cylinders.

"The overall picture is therefore one of the economy continuing to show relatively resilient growth, albeit with an undercurrent of heightened uncertainty surrounding Brexit posing downside risks to economic activity in coming months, especially business investment," he said.

Britain's departure from the European Union is scheduled for March 2019.