Hot sum­mer boost to growth is cool­ing off

Yorkshire Post - - POLITICS & ECONOMY -

THE BRITISH econ­omy grew by 0.6 per cent in the third quar­ter of this year but there were signs of con­sumers cut­ting back on spend­ing.

The Of­fice for Na­tional Statis­tics (ONS) said that the fig­ure rep­re­sents the fastest quar­terly growth since the fi­nal quar­ter of 2016, when the econ­omy ex­panded by 0.7 per cent.

Growth was pri­mar­ily driven by strong re­tail sales dur­ing the World Cup and a re­cov­ery in con­struc­tion in July, when monthly GDP was 0.3 per cent higher.

Chan­cel­lor Philip Ham­mond said the “pos­i­tive growth” was “proof of the un­der­ly­ing strength in our econ­omy”.

But growth in Au­gust and Septem­ber was flat, con­firm­ing econ­o­mists’ fears that the heat­wave’s boost to the econ­omy faded to­wards the end of sum­mer.

Rob Kent-Smith, head of na­tional ac­counts, 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 fall back in do­mes­tic car pur­chases. How­ever, car man­u­fac­ture for ex­port grew across the quar­ter, boost­ing fac­tory out­put.”

The pound was un­moved yes­ter­day, trad­ing 0.3 per cent down ver­sus the US dol­lar at 1.30 and flat against the euro at 1.14.

Eu­ro­pean Com­mis­sion fore­casts this week showed the UK head­ing for sec­ond bot­tom of the EU growth league in 2019.

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