Hot summer boost to growth is cooling off
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.