Manufacturing output rose at the fastest monthly pace since April 2014 in September, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), which said it surged by 0.8%. That followed a 0.4% increase in August.
The ONS said Britain's goods trade deficit narrowed by more than was expected. Attributing the narrowing to trade in goods, it said the deficit fell from £10.8bn in August to £9.4bn the following month.
However, in quarter three – between July and September – the ONS said that the UK's deficit on trade in goods and services was estimated to have been £8.5bn, widening by £5.1bn when compared with quarter two (April to June) 2015.
With a strengthening of the pound and less demand from eurozone countries, manufacturers have struggled over recent years. But the ONS said exports climbed by £600m, which it attributed to an increase in chemicals.
Over the same month of September, imports fell by £900m to £33bn. "This was attributed to a decrease in unspecified goods of £1bn," it said.
Despite the improvement, the ONS said trade would likely make a negative contribution to British economic output in the third quarter. Industrial production figures would have a negligible impact to its estimate for economic growth in the July to September period, which slowed to 0.5% on the quarter, it said.
After rising 0.9% in August industrial output fell 0.2% on the month, while on-the-year output rose by 1.1%, down from a 1.8% annual increase in the previous month.