A crop of UK data releases on Friday indicate business output continued to slow at the beginning of the second quarter.
Survey data, such as purchasing manager indexes, has in recent months raised hopes that the weak growth seen in the first quarter was temporary, and that a pick up is due this quarter.
Manufacturing output and industrial production data for April, however, have failed to confirm the acceleration in growth suggested by the surveys.
The data breakdown
While industrial production climbed 0.2% month-on-month in April from a 0.5% decline in March, it failed to meet market expectations of a 0.8% rise.
On an annualised basis, however, industrial production was down 0.8% in April, worse than the forecast 0.2% drop. In March, production had grown at an annual pace of 1.4%.
Manufacturing output, meanwhile, did pick up – but not at the pace forecast by the market. April saw month-on-month output growth of 0.2% after a 0.6% drop in March, but failed to match expectations of 0.9%.
This equated to a flat reading for the year in April – down from a more robust 2.2% in March and missing expectations of 0.7% annual growth.
Completing a trio of worse than expected output data, construction fell 1.6% month-on-month in April after climbing 0.7% in March, as new work, repairs and maintenance all dropped.
"The data suggest that the production and construction sectors are on course to provide a negligible contribution to GDP growth in Q2 once again," says Ruth Gregory, UK economist at Capital Economics.
Comparing the surveys
Surveys of UK purchasing managers have shown during April and May that expectations are high for a second-quarter pick up in business activity.
In April, the manufacturing PMI hit a three-year high, and although it slipped slightly to 56.7 in May, the higher the index climbs above the 50 level, the stronger the expected rate of growth in the sector.
Indeed, Friday's data releases from the Office for National Statistics may represent a lag between the renewed optimism from purchasing managers, and real activity picking up after the disappointing first-quarter.