The cost of manufactured goods fell during April as crude oil prices slid once supply worries eased with the end of major fighting in the Iraq war, official data shows.

The Office for National Statistics' (ONS) producer prices index showed that output prices fell by 0.1 per cent between March and April, compared with a rise of 0.6per cent between February and March.

Economists had predicted a small rise on the month during which Saddam Hussein's regime was removed from power in Iraq by the US-led coalition.