Published On: Sun, Aug 12th, 2018

Construction and retail get warmer

It grew by 1.3 per cent from the same period in 2017. 

But it failed to fire on all cylinders as industrial production fell, including a 0.9 per cent drop in manufacturing which has struggled to match a powerhouse performance in 2017. 

Construction output, which is 6 per cent of the economy and has long lagged behind other sectors, rebounded from a weather-driven 0.8 per cent contraction in the first quarter to expand 0.9 per cent. 

Its 1.4 per cent growth between May and June was mainly due to new infrastructure work. 

The services sector, which makes up over three-quarters of GDP, grew 0.5 per cent, its biggest quarterly expansion since the final quarter of 2016. Household spending grew 0.3 per cent, with retail industry output enjoying its highest quarterly growth for 14 years at 2.1 per cent, while business investment was up by 0.5 per cent. 

But GDP growth slowed to 0.1 per cent in June from 0.3 per cent the previous month, with some economists questioning whether there was evidence of a sustained recovery to justify the Bank of England’s decision last week to hike interest rates. 

IHS Markit’s Chris Williamson said: “While the November hike was a reversal of the emergency ‘insurance’ rate cut made after the EU referendum, the August hike was the first ‘hawkish’ tightening of policy, which should be justified by improving economic data and rising ‘core’ inflationary pressures. “However, inflation indicators have fallen, fuelling criticism that it may have been better to postpone a rate hike until signs of the economy strengthening appeared, rather than a rebound from extreme weather.”

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