United Kingdom economic growth rate continues its pre-Brexit slowdown

UK economic growth hits six-month low

United Kingdom economic growth improved for a second straight month in November, led by services and construction growth, and exceeded economists' expectations, but the growth momentum slowed over the three-month period, the monthly estimate from the Office for National Statistics showed on Friday.

Commenting on the data, the ONS say the United Kingdom economy continues to slow in the three months to November 2018 after performing more strongly through the middle of the year.

The rolling three-month growth rate for September to November was calculated by comparing GDP during this period to the previous three-month period from June to August.

"Accountancy and house building again grew but a number of other areas were sluggish".

The three-month-on-three-month growth in gross domestic product of 0.3% was the weakest recorded since the March to May period previous year. Industry suffered its most widespread fall in output since 2012, with a drop in vehicle production leading the charge.

This is in line with Germany and France, which have also recorded falling industrial output. Economists had expected the pace of growth to remain unchanged.

Mike Jakeman, senior economist at PwC, said: "The latest monthly GDP data adds to existing impressions that the economy is slowing as uncertainty over Brexit intensifies".

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Having initially postponed MPs' vote on her Brexit deal in December, Prime Minister Theresa May will attempt to pass it through parliament on Tuesday 11 February.

"The clear loss of momentum in the United Kingdom economy since the summer is as expected, given the ongoing lack of clarity on Brexit".

Earlier this week closely watched purchasing managers' surveys pointed to fourth-quarter growth of around 0.1 percent in Britain, according to data firm IHS Markit which compiles the surveys.

Despite the better-than-forecast GDP numbers the British Pound has moved lower, confirming suspicions that United Kingdom economic statistics are a mere sideshow for the currency in the current environment where Brexit is front and centre.

There were several factors at play in the sharp slowdown, but that Brexit-related uncertainty was not primary, as there is a global slowdown of both services and manufacturing - the United Kingdom is part of that, Amit Kara, head of United Kingdom macroeconomic forecasting at the NIESR, told Xinhua.

Separate data showed that, once erratic items like aircraft orders were stripped out, the gulf between imports and exports - the trade deficit - widened to £9.5bn in the three months to November.

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