Sunshine and Showers

Sunshine and Showers

max temp: 14°C

min temp: 9°C

Search
Norfolk Business Awards 2018

Britain’s economy grows faster than expected at the end of 2017

PUBLISHED: 10:19 26 January 2018 | UPDATED: 10:19 26 January 2018

Businessman checking stock market data. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Businessman checking stock market data. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto

This content is subject to copyright.

Britain’s economy performed better than expected in the fourth quarter thanks to the country’s powerhouse services sector, though there are warning signs of “slower and uneven” growth.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 0.5% in its initial estimate for October to December last year, following growth of 0.4% in the third quarter.

Economists had been expecting growth of 0.4%, according to consensus figures, though a minority had forecast a slowdown to 0.3% on the back of a temporary shutdown of a major North Sea oil pipeline last month.

The biggest impact came from the UK’s services sector - which accounts for around 79% of the economy.

Services grew 0.6% quarter on quarter, with business and financial services making the biggest contribution, accounting for work from the likes of lawyers, architects and business administrators.

However, the ONS said longer-term trends were pointing to a broader slowdown.

ONS head of GDP Darren Morgan said: “Despite a slight uptick in the latest quarter, the underlying picture is of slower and uneven growth across the economy.

“The boost to the economy at the end of the year came from a range of services including recruitment agencies, letting agents and office management.

“Other services - notably consumer facing sectors - showed much slower growth,” he said, referring to industries such as distribution, hotels, catering, transport and communications.

“Manufacturing also grew strongly but construction again fell.”

The UK economy is still struggling to bounce back to levels seen in the final quarter of 2016 when GDP rose by 0.6%.

Sterling rose sharply against the dollar following the news, flirting with 1.43, up 1% on the day. Against the euro, the pound was up 0.4% to 1.14 euros.

Manufacturing growth contributed to a 0.6% rise for production industries over the quarter, but that was partly offset by a “significant” fall in oil and gas extraction following the temporary shuttering of the North Sea Forties pipeline over the bulk of December.

It came after a routine inspection found a hairline crack in the pipe just south of Aberdeen, prompting emergency repairs that stopped the flow of oil and gas from platforms feeding into the system.

Construction, meanwhile, contracted for the third straight quarter - this time by 1%, while agriculture contracted 0.4%.

The ONS said the UK is likely to have seen economic growth of around 1.8% for the whole of 2017 a slightly slower rate than 2016 when it grew 1.9% and marking the weakest rate since 2012 when the economy expanded 1.5%.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) earlier this month slashed the UK’s growth outlook from 1.6% to 1.5% for 2019, the year it quits the European Union.

For 2018, the IMF is forecasting UK growth at 1.5%, with the organisation previously saying that Brexit uncertainty and the inflation squeeze on household spending power would put the brakes on the UK economy.

The Washington DC-based group said firms are likely to continue deferring investment decisions until there is greater clarity on the UK’s future trading relationship with the European Union.

Search hundreds of local jobs at Jobs24

A woman with 256 previous convictions is this week back behind bars after biting three members of staff at a Suffolk supermarket along with two others sentenced this week.

As the two-year anniversary of missing RAF serviceman Corrie McKeague’s disappearance approaches, his mother opens up about theories, potential new searches and her first grandchild.

Antisocial driving in around Ipswich town centre was targeted in an operation by Special Constables last night.

A Good Samaritan is travelling up to 70 miles a time to carry out handyman jobs for families of young people with life-threatening conditions.

Cautions and convictions for knife crime in Suffolk last year reached their highest levels since 2010.

Wet weather is forecast for today, with flooding expected tomorrow as ‘yellow’ weather warnings for wind and rain are issued.

Instagram has long been home to some of the best food photography on the internet, whether it is showing off an attempt at a new recipe or an amazing dish at a restaurant.

From an exciting announcement at Chantry Park to the opening of a cannabis lounge in Ipswich make sure you are up to date with our articles.

First responders raised hundreds of pounds to help their life-saving work through a sponsored charity event.

A new coastal branch of a Suffolk sixth form has opened with hopes to broaden opportunities for young people in the area.

Show Job Lists

Most read

Topic pages

Newsletter Sign Up

Ipswich Star daily newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

MyDate24 MyPhotos24