INDUSTRIAL output slowed during February as new figures provided more evidence the global economic slowdown was hurting UK business.

Data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed overall production slipped 0.3 per cent during the month and by 0.7 per cent over a three month period.

Manufacturing output, which fell heavily in January because of lower mobile phone production, recovered by just 0.1 per cent in February.

Economists said the figures, issued just hours before the Bank of England announced a per cent cut in interest rates, were weaker than expected.

Deborah Read, of Bank of America: "This is further evidence that there is some impact internationally on the production sector in the UK.

This is the side of the economy which is always viewed as vulnerable. It is being impacted upon before the consumer sector, where demand is holding up."

The data contains only a minimal impact from the foot-and-mouth outbreak, which is expected to show through in next month's figures.

Other production data saw output in the electricity, gas and water supply sector fall by 2.5 per cent because of higher than normal temperatures in February.