UK GDP growth falls to six-month low

According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), on a monthly basis GDP increased by 0.2% in November, up from 0.1% in October.

The increase in monthly growth was driven by construction, which expanded by 0.6% and services, which increased 0.3% mainly due to retail sales following a boost from Black Friday.

Meanwhile, UK manufacturing fell for a fifth straight month in November, contracting 0.3%, the longest losing run since the 2008/9 Global Financial Crisis.

Rob Kent-Smith, head of national accounts at ONS, commented: “Growth in the UK economy continued to slow in the three months to November after performing more strongly through the middle of the year.

“Accountancy and housebuilding again grew but a number of other areas were sluggish.

“Manufacturing saw a steep decline, with care production and the often-erratic pharmaceutical industry both performing poorly.

Ben Brettell, senior economist at Hargreaves Lansdown, commented: “There are two factors at work here. The global economy looks to be stuttering, with the ‘Chimerica’ trade war rumbling on, and Chinese consumer spending on a downward trend.

“UK companies are also dealing with a significant Brexit headwind, with heightened levels of uncertainty putting business off investment and damaging consumer confidence.”

Meanwhile, the FTSE 100 broke through the 7,000 barrier in Friday trading driven by Federal chairman Jerome Powell hinting on Thursday the central bank could press pause on further rate rises for now. However, the FTSE 100 fell back to 6,976 points by 10.17am.

Sterling is up 0.6% to $1.283 against the US dollar and 0.3% against the euro.

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