Britain's factory output slumped in April as workers downed tools to enjoy the royal wedding and an extra day's holiday, while production was also hit by the disruption to supply chains from Japan's earthquake, according to the UK Telegraph.
Some UK companies shut down totally over the 11-day stretch running into the start of May, which included just three working days.
These “one-off” factors helped manufacturing output suffer its biggest monthly fall in more than two years, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.
However, the size of the decline raised fears that the resurgent manufacturing sector is seeing an underlying slowdown as demand weakens locally and abroad.
UK manufacturing output was down 1.5pc on the previous month, its sharpest drop since January 2009. A wider measure of industrial output, which includes more volatile elements such as mining and utilities, was down 1.7pc month-on-month.
"It is difficult to interpret the current underlying trend in the sector from these figures, but there is plenty of evidence that growth is continuing to moderate," said Hetal Mehta, UK economist at Daiwa Capital. "We certainly do not expect manufacturing to make as big a contribution to GDP (gross domestic product) growth in Q2 as in Q1."