UK economy grows faster than expected in Q3, no sign of Brexit hit

LONDON: Britain’s economy grew more strongly than expected in the third quarter, showing no sign of any slowdown from June’s Brexit vote, but the country’s current account deficit rose back towards record levels.
The economy expanded 0.6 per cent in the three months to September, the Office for National Statistics said on Friday, revised up from an earlier reading of 0.5 per cent that economists had expected to remain unchanged.
But growth was revised down by 0.1 percentage points in the first and second quarters of the year to 0.3 and 0.6 per cent respectively.
While the figures confirmed that Britain’s economy performed more robustly than economists expected after the vote to leave the European Union, there was no sign that sterling’s sharp fall had boosted exports.
The figures showed a markedly worse picture for trade and growth was more reliant on domestic demand than previously thought.
“Robust consumer demand continued to help the UK economy grow steadily in the third quarter of 2016,” ONS statistician Darren Morgan said.
Net trade acted as a drag of 1.2 percentage points on third quarter growth, the biggest drag since early 2012 and compared with an initial estimate that trade had offered a 0.7 percentage point boost to the growth rate.
This reflected corrections the ONS recently made to trade data due to a miscalculation in the trade of gold.
Britain’s current account deficit widened to £25.494 billion from a downwardly revised £22.079 billion in the Q2. While lower than the £27.45 billion expected by economists, it caused the deficit to rise to 5.2 per cent of gross domestic product from 4.6 per cent. — Reuters