By Daniel Hunter

Data released by the Office for National Statistics today (Thursday) revealed that UK industrial output rose 1.1% in December from the previous month.

The rise - which includes figures for energy production and mining - was higher than many economists' predictions of a 0.9% rise.

Manufacturing output rose 1.6% for the month, after falling 0.3% in November.

Separately, ONS data released on Thursday showed that the UK's trade deficit in goods narrowed in December as forecast.

The goods trade deficit shrank to £8.89bn from £9.27bn in November. The consensus forecast among economists was a gap of £8.93bn.

The surplus on trade in services remained the same in December at £5.7bn.

“The contraction over the last month of the UK trade deficit and increase in exports is encouraging. We are seeing more activity amongst our clients with an increased expansionist approach bringing about a bit of stability," Kah Chye Tan, Head of Trade and Working Capital at Barclays said.

“There are still a number of hurdles however to contend with, particularly given the predicted low growth UK economy. And whilst pressure on the Sterling should, on balance, help UK exporters, it remains to be seen whether this will boost export growth to non-EU countries.”

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