TRENDS

Manufacturing output rose at its fastest rate since 1994 in the third quarter of the year, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics. Total production in the three months to February rose 1%, but remained 0.2% below last year’s level. The chemicals sector saw the biggest leap in production, with a rise of […]

Manufacturing output rose at its fastest rate since 1994 in the third quarter of the year, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics. Total production in the three months to February rose 1%, but remained 0.2% below last year’s level.

The chemicals sector saw the biggest leap in production, with a rise of almost 4% on the previous quarter. This recovery is all the more remarkable as it follows a flat 1998 and a fall in output at the start of 1999.

Engineering and allied industries rose slightly, with the electrical and optical equipment sectors performing especially well. But output in the transport equipment sector fell 0.9%.

* The prospect of an end to the British beef ban is expected to help the UK’s agricultural machinery market to recover after three years of decline and slow growth, market research firm Frost & Sullivan says. The need to replace new machinery and increase productivity will also help the market rise to $1.82bn (£1.14bn) by 2005 from $1.6bn (£1bn) this year.

But growth in other European markets will be even faster. France is expected to consolidate its position as the largest agricultural machinery market, taking 21.1% of European production by 2005.