Growth doubles to 0.4pc as economy bounces back from cold snap

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ONS head of national accounts Rob Kent-Smith said: "The economy picked up a little in the second quarter with both retail sales and construction helped by the good weather and rebounding from the effects of the snow earlier in the year".

Sterling, shaken over the last week by growing talk of a no-deal Brexit, was little moved by the data which painted a familiar picture of growth led by the services sector while businesses were reluctant to raise investment much.

Britain's economy slowed after the 2016 Brexit vote and is expected to continue to expand at weaker pace than most other developed economies with the country due to leave the European Union in March next year.

The report comes a week after the Bank of England raised interest rates for the second time since the financial crisis, saying recent data showed the economy had rebounded from the first quarter's "temporary" slowdown.

The feel-good factor from England's performance in the World Cup - where the team reached the quarterfinals - is also said to have boosted growth.

Ruth Gregory, senior economist at Capital Economics, said growth would have been weaker had it not been for a big contribution from inventories, offsetting a "whopping" 0.8 percentage-point drag on growth from net trade, which was still down 0.5pp even excluding the volatile valuables component.

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"However, manufacturing continued to fall back from its high point at the end of past year and underlying growth remained modest by historical standards".

Meanwhile, in terms of the euro the focus is likely to be on the Eurozone's latest GDP estimate, with euro exchange rates likely to be put on the defensive in the first half of the week if growth in the bloc is confirmed to have slowed in the second quarter.

"Services industries had robust growth of 0.5 percent in Quarter 2 (Apr to June) 2018, which contributed 0.42 percentage points to overall gross domestic product (GDP) growth".

The ONS also said that the economy grew by 0.1 per cent in June, down from a more robust 0.3 per cent in the previous month. Retailers in particular have struggled.

"Indeed a rather less than encouraging assessment of the UK's economic prospects can be found in the performance of the pound, which has slipped back below $1.30 against the dollar in the last week, despite a rise in United Kingdom interest rates".

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