London — British factories had their worst month in five-and-a-half years in April, suggesting the economy’s weak start to 2018 has persisted and lowering the likelihood of the Bank of England (BoE) raising interest rates again any time soon. Sterling slid as data showed the biggest fall in factory output since 2012 due to tepid demand at home and abroad. The Office for National Statistics also said Britain posted its biggest trade deficit since September 2016. "The rebound in GDP as a whole in Q2, if there is one, could be pretty subdued and it certainly questions the likelihood of another rate increase in August," Investec economist Philip Shaw said. Britain’s economy slowed sharply last year, even as much of the rest of the world picked up speed, as the 2016 Brexit vote left consumers with higher inflation and companies turned cautious about investment. Things got worse in early 2018 but the BoE said the slump was probably mostly due to cold weather. Monday’s figures did little t...

BL Premium

This article is reserved for our subscribers.

A subscription helps you enjoy the best of our business content every day along with benefits such as exclusive Financial Times articles, ProfileData financial data, and digital access to the Sunday Times and Times Select.

Already subscribed? Simply sign in below.



Questions or problems? Email helpdesk@businesslive.co.za or call 0860 52 52 00.