The index of production fell 0.5 per cent between July and August, the ONS said, while the index of manufacturing dropped off 1.1 per cent. These monthly moves left both indices 1.2 per cent below where they were in August last year.
Analysts said the data showed that world economic troubles were impacting on the UK. “Manufacturing output contracted sharply again in August, suggesting that the return to growth in July was merely a temporary, one-month, blip,” said Chris Williamson at Markit.
“Industry is suffering from underlying weakness,” agreed Melanie Bowler at Moody's Analytics. “[This] suggests output is likely to disappoint into 2013.”
The slump in manufacturing that dragged down industrial production was itself pulled down by a nine per cent collapse in chemical production, and a three per cent fall-off in food, drink and tobacco production. An 11 per cent rise in the output of transport production provided a counterweight.