United Kingdom economy grows by 0.4% in the third quarter of 2017

Posted October 27, 2017

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

Despite Wednesday's gains, sterling is still trading well down on its value before last year's Brexit vote, when £1 would have bought $1.50 or €1.31. While motoring and retail also performed well, construction contracted for the second quarter in a row.

The rise is above expectations of 0.3%, as economists predicted growth in line with the first and second quarters of 2017.

The British pound rose shortly after today's growth report, going up 0.25 percent against the USA dollar to $1.317.

Despite tepid growth, the better-than-expected GDP figure increases the likelihood that the Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee will raise interest rates when it meets next week.

The growth came despite financial and economic worries over Brexit and a future trade deal with the EU.

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"A slightly improved performance from the United Kingdom economy in Q3, with output growing by 0.4%". Following recent hawkish comments from the MPC, markets were already regarding a return to 0.5% as a near-certainty.

According to the ONS, the figures bring the estimated full year growth to 1.5% - meaning that the economy is expanding at a slower rate than in 2016, which stood at an annualised rate of 1.8%.

The largest contributor to growth in services was the business services and finance sector, which grew by 0.6%, while the positive contribution from production (up 1% in the quarter) was attributed to strength in the auto manufacturing output in July, which increased by 3.8%.

A rate rise is seen as a negative for stock markets, which have grown fat from almost a decade of cheap money from central banks, however most believe Bank of England Governor Mark Carney will now be forced to hike at the Bank's next meeting on 2 November.

For those seeking a personal loan, the average interest rate on borrowing £5,000 has dropped from 9.3 per cent at the time of the European Union referendum to 8 per cent. "The key uncertainty for the central bank is whether it will increase base rates any further in 2018".