UK GDP growth hits highest level since 2016


According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the UK economy jumped 0.6%, up from the 0.4% growth seen in the previous quarter.

All four sectors of output – services, industry, construction and agriculture – contributed to growth this quarter, with the biggest coming from the services industry with 0.3% expansion.

However, the UK economy failed to grow in August or September, with zero growth in September missing economists’ expectations for 0.1% expansion.

Furthermore, UK business investment contracted by 1.2% from the previous quarter, the sharpest decline since Q1 and marked the third consecutive quarterly fall, something that has not been seen since the Global Financial Crisis.

Rob Kent-Smith, head of national accounts at the ONS, said: “The economy saw a strong summer, although longer-term economic growth remained subdued. There are some signs of weakness in September, with slowing retail sales and a fallback in domestic car purchases.”

Budget 2018: Sterling falls despite upgrade in GDP growth forecasts

Azad Zangana, senior European economist at Schroders, commented: “We expect UK fourth quarter growth to be very weak as Brexit paralysis truly takes hold.

“Assuming the government can successfully negotiate the withdrawal agreement with Brussels and ratify it in parliament, then we could see a rebound in growth early next year.

“However, a failure to complete a deal, which would mean a no-deal or cliff-edge Brexit, is likely to cause a further slowdown in activity, which could be enough to tip the UK into recession.”

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