Ian McCafferty, the CBI’s chief economic adviser, said that optimism was at its highest for two years, although remaining fragile, saying: "Given Europe is still our biggest export market, the outlook for UK manufacturing will remain uncertain until the eurozone crisis is resolved."
And he expressed surprise at the figures from the ONS, which showed a 0.1 per cent contraction in manufacturing output, saying that the CBI survey had pointed to a 0.1 per cent rise.
Other economists were equally surprised at the ONS data. The Bank of England found the figures “perplexing” and Andrew Goodwin, senior economic advisor to the Ernst & Young ITEM Club said: “Our reaction is one of disbelief.”
ONS chief economist Joe Grice defended the data, saying at a news conference yesterday: "We have no reason to suspect that these figures are any less reliable than would usually be the case."
"We have a very large set of respondents to base our results on - 40,000 for the economy as a whole," he said. "We go through our returns carefully, we go back to respondents and if anything looks odd, we question it, sometimes several times."
However, economists point to a 0.6 per cent discrepancy in their fgures in 2009, with Chris Williamson of Markit saying: "As was the case three years ago, there is a worry that by heralding a double-dip recession, misleading, gloomy official data shatter the revival of consumer and business confidence.”
For more information, please contact Glazers, Chartered Accountants London or visit www.glazers.co.uk
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