Saturday, July 13, 2024

UK GDP: Growth powers past expectations after washout April – London Business News |

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The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said gross domestic product (GDP) showed 0.4% month-on-month growth in May, following no growth in April as wet weather hit consumer spending.

That reflects very strong growth in the construction sector, as well as more modest but still positive growth elsewhere.

Services output grew 0.3% month-on-month, construction output grew 1.9% month-on-month and production grew 1.9% month-on-month.

GDP had been expected to rise 0.2% month-on-month (Trading Economics).

ONS director of economic statistics Liz McKeown said, “The economy grew strongly in May, with all the main sectors seeing increases.

“Many retailers and wholesalers had a good month, with both bouncing back from a weak April.

“Construction grew at its fastest rate in almost a year after recent weakness, with housebuilding and infrastructure projects boosting the industry.”

Chancellor Rachel Reeves said, “Delivering economic growth is our national mission, and we don’t have a minute to waste.”

Rob Wood, chief UK economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, said, “The UK economy is well and truly putting last year’s minor recession behind it.

“GDP has risen 1.5% so far this year, and three-month-on-three-month growth reached the highest since January 2022.

“But these growth numbers feel a bit too good to be true – they are much stronger than business surveys – so we assume some payback in June.”

Nicholas Hyett, investment manager at Wealth Club said, “The economy picked up pace in May, with overall growth twice what economists had expected.

“The UK consumer looks to be in robust health, underpinning growth in retail and accommodation in May. Businesses attributed the strength in part to the warmest May on record, following an exceptionally wet April. After April’s washout the construction industry also enjoyed a strong month, with new housing and infrastructure output up 2.8% and 3.5% respectively. Both are priority areas for the new government  – and this suggests decent foundations for the future.

“Overall the UK economy looks like it went into the election in a pretty good state. However, increasingly volatile weather patterns have made for a bumpy ride recently, and that’s likely to continue going forwards in an economic environment that is already vulnerable to global macro shocks.”

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