The UK economy could be headed for its first quarterly contraction since late 2012 after uncertainty over Brexit caused a sharp slowdown in manufacturing.
Factory output plunged 3.9% over the previous month, according to the data. Auto production fell 24%, the most on record, as carmakers idled factories around the original March 29 deadline for Brexit.
Rob Kent-Smith, an official at the Office for National Statistics, said there had been “widespread weakness” across manufacturing as a boost from stockpiling ahead of the departure date faded.
Production of chemicals, pharmaceutical products and basic metals also declined in April, according to the statistics agency.