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GDP growth stronger than predicted but 'squeeze' continuing

27 October 2017, 12:41 | Melanie Burgess

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The British economy grew by 0.4 per cent in the third quarter, a better-than-expected performance that has fuelled expectations that the Bank of England's monetary policy committee will increase interest rates next week for the first time in a decade.

Laith Khalaf, Senior Analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said this morning that "markets are now pricing in an 80% chance of a rate rise next week, but the central bank has disappointed on this score before".

Britain's manufacturers had seen a weak second quarter, with output falling, but the sector returned to growth in the three months to September, albeit by only one per cent, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The latest figures from the Office for National Statistics show that the United Kingdom economy grew by £488,862m, or 0.4% in the July-September period. GDP only rose by 0.3% in both the first and second quarter, partly due to a slowdown in the dominant service sector. Responding to the figures, Chancellor Philip Hammond said boosting productivity would be the focus of his budget next month.

"Despite today's marginal improvement, growth has been relatively lacklustre this year".

But the service sector - which accounts for nearly 80% of the economy's output - had the biggest overall contribution with a 0.4% growth over the quarter.

Output from the services sector remains unchanged from the previous quarter at 0.4 per cent.

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He added: "Today's numbers seem to have increased the likelihood of an interest rate rise next week, with sterling gaining nearly half a cent against the dollar".

Pressure on the Bank of England to raise interest as soon as next month rose as figures show the United Kingdom economy unexpectedly accelerated in the third quarter of the year.

"We would like to see more broad-based growth, and are concerned, for example, that the construction sector is now in recession".

A rate rise by the BoE would act to curb inflation.

Computer programming led UK GDP growth in the third quarter of 2017, with activities increasing by 1.9% year-on-year.

"If the MPC doesn't raise interest rates on 2 November following this preliminary GDP estimate, Mark Carney will be branded as the central banker who cried wolf once too often".



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