UK econ­omy slows amid un­cer­tainty over Brexit

Belfast Telegraph - Business Telegraph - - News - BY RAVENDER SEMBHY

THE UK’S econ­omy suf­fered a slow­down in the three months to Oc­to­ber as a con­trac­tion in the man­u­fac­tur­ing sec­tor and fall­ing car sales dragged on growth, amid con­tin­u­ing Brexit un­cer­tainty.

Over the three months to Oc­to­ber, GDP rose 0.4% com­pared with the pre­vi­ous quar­ter, ac­cord­ing to the Of­fice for Na­tional Statis­tics (ONS).

This com­pares with 0.6% recorded in the three months to Septem­ber.

Rolling three-month growth in the man­u­fac­tur­ing sec­tor was flat, but month on month it con­tracted by 0.9%.

The man­u­fac­ture of mo­tor ve­hi­cles fell by 6.6%, due in part to the im­pact of fac­tory shut­downs and weaker con­sumer de­mand for cars.

Head of na­tional ac­counts at the ONS Rob Kent-smith said: “GDP growth slowed go­ing into the au­tumn af­ter a strong sum­mer, with a soften­ing in ser­vices sec­tor growth mainly due to a fall in car sales. This was off­set by a strong show­ing from IT and ac­coun­tancy.

“Man­u­fac­tur­ing saw no growth at all in the lat­est three months, mainly due to a de­cline in the of­ten er­ratic phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal in­dus­try. Con­struc­tion, while slow­ing slightly, con­tin­ued its re­cent solid per­for­mance with growth in housebuilding and in­fra­struc­ture.”

The lack­lus­tre fig­ures come as Theresa May called off an at­tempt to gain par­lia­men­tary ap­proval for her Brexit deal, in yet an­other hu­mil­i­a­tion for the Prime Min­is­ter.

The ONS fig­ures also show that the econ­omy grew by just 0.1% in Oc­to­ber month on month, which marks a slight re­bound from flat growth in Au­gust and Septem­ber. Month-on-month, con­struc­tion growth de­clined 0.2% in Oc­to­ber while ser­vices ac­tiv­ity rose 0.2%.

PWC chief econ­o­mist John Hawksworth said: “The data shows UK growth con­tin­u­ing to slow af­ter a strong sum­mer, with Brexit un­cer­tainty hold­ing back busi­ness in­vest­ment, hous­ing trans­ac­tions and car sales.

“The weak­en­ing of the econ­omy is as we ex­pected given the con­tin­ued high level of un­cer­tainty around Brexit.”

Statis­tics: John Hawksworth

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