Business

Growth of 0.5% confirmed for UK

Container ship at Felixstowe Image copyright Getty Images

The UK economy grew 0.5% between July and September, official figures have confirmed, unchanged from the initial estimate.

It is the second estimate for GDP growth from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

It was a slowdown from the 0.7% rate in the second quarter, but still marked the 11th consecutive quarter of growth.

A widening trade gap is being blamed for the slowdown, with trade having a record negative effect on GDP.

The deficit in the trade balance, the gap between the level of exports and imports, widened from £7.7bn in the second quarter to £14.2bn in the third.

Exports increased by 0.9% while imports grew by 5.5%.

Overall, the trade gap knocked 1.5 percentage points off GDP, which is the most since records began in 1997.

'No surprises'

Construction output was also a drag on growth, with the sector contracting by 2.2%.

The services sector, which accounts for more than three quarters of the economy, grew by 0.7% in the quarter.

Industrial production, which includes manufacturing, grew by 0.2%, and business investment was estimated to have risen by 2.2%.

"No surprises in the second estimate as the economy was ticking over, including a chunky contribution from business investment, which has had an unbroken run of expansion for a year," said Lee Hopley, chief economist at EEF, the manufacturers' organisation.

"Pulling sharply in the opposite direction is the contribution from net trade, with modest export growth being swamped by a massive bounce in imports."

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