ONS to say Q3 GDP growth unchanged at 0.8%

Wednesday, 27 November 2013 08:06

The second estimate of GDP is published this morning by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Economists believe the rate of growth will be unchanged from the preliminary estimate and will show that the UK economy grew by 0.8 per cent in the third quarter of 2013, the strongest quarterly growth figures since the second quarter of 2010 following growth of 0.4 and 0.7 per cent in the first two quarters of 2013.

The first estimate uses data from the output side of the economy such as the level of activity in the manufacturing, construction and services sector.

Today’s figures will include data from the expenditure within the economy in the quarterly period. This includes consumer spending and business investment, all of which are expected to show healthy levels of growth. However, net trade is expected to drag down the figures to a degree as the UK continues to import more than it exports.

Consumer spending expanded strongly in the third quarter supported by increased consumer confidence and employment levels and is expected to have contributed markedly to growth because it accounts for 63 per cent of GDP on the expenditure side.

Data already released shows that retail sales volumes expanded 1.4 per cent quarter-on-quarter in the third quarter, which was the strongest performance since the first quarter of 2008.

Howard Archer, Chief UK & European Economist at IHS Global Insight said: There is a small chance that GDP growth in the third quarter could be trimmed to 0.7%. Data released since the preliminary GDP estimate show that construction output actually grew by 1.7% quarter-on-quarter in the third quarter rather than by 2.5% as had been estimated.”

Looking ahead, Mr Archer expects GDP growth to be strong again in the fourth quarter, most likely coming in slightly lower at 0.7 per cent.

“News on the UK economy has remained largely upbeat in recent weeks, although there are signs that consumers may have eased back on their spending in October after splashing out during the third quarter,” he said. 

In 2014, GDP growth is expected to steadily grow at around 0.5 – 0.6 per cent per quarter to provide overall growth of around 2.5 per cent.

Mr Archer said: “Tight fiscal policy, only gradually easing credit conditions and relatively limited global growth currently remain significant handicaps to UK growth prospects while consumer purchasing power is currently constrained by very low earnings growth running well below inflation.


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