LONDON Britain's economy lost speed in the three months to October, reflecting lower car sales and factory stoppages due to weaker demand that business groups blamed on uncertainty about Brexit.
* UK GDP +0.4 pct 3m/3m in Oct vs Q3 +0.6 pct
* Factory output falls by most on year since March 2016
* Q3 trade revisions point towards weaker GDP growth
By David Milliken and Andy Bruce
LONDON, Dec 10 Britain's economy lost speed in
the three months to October, reflecting lower car sales and
factory stoppages due to weaker demand that business groups
blamed on uncertainty about Brexit.
Gross domestic product growth slowed to 0.4 percent, in line
with a Reuters poll of economists, from a strong 0.6 percent in
the third quarter of 2018.
Monday's data confirmed that the economy's strength over the
summer represented something of a blip, caused by a boost to
consumer spending from an unusually warm summer.
"The latest GDP data is further evidence that the drag
effect of persistent Brexit uncertainty and the significant cost
pressures faced by consumers and businesses is taking its toll
on the UK economy," Suren Thiru, head of economics at the
British Chambers of Commerce, said.
Markets showed little reaction to the data, with their focus
on whether Prime Minister Theresa May would go ahead with a
parliament vote on her preferred Brexit deal due on Tuesday,
which she looks likely to lose heavily.
The Office for National Statistics also highlighted a jump
in Britain's trade deficit for the three months to September
compared with previous figures, raising the prospect that
third-quarter growth relied more on the domestic economy than
More recent private-sector business surveys have suggested
the economy is slowing sharply in the face of uncertainty about
the terms on which Britain will leave the European Union. The
surveys have shown that fourth-quarter economic growth could be
as weak as 0.1 percent.
If May loses Tuesday's vote, the options for Brexit range
from Britain facing major customs barriers when it leaves the EU
in March to fresh national elections or a second referendum on
leaving the EU.
Monday's data do not give updated details of business
investment, which fell sharply in the three months to September.
Britain's economy has slowed since the June 2016 Brexit
vote, its annual growth rate slipping from top spot among the
Group of Seven group of rich nations to vying with Japan and
Italy for bottom place in the rankings.
The slower GDP growth in Monday's data reflected a hit to
the services sector from lower car sales, volatile
pharmaceuticals production and reports of factory stoppages due
to a lack of demand.
Year-on-year economic growth in October held at September's
1.5 percent, against expectations of a slight pick-up, while in
October alone GDP rose by 0.1 percent as expected
Factory output recorded its largest fall since March 2016,
down 1.0 percent on the year.
Britain's goods trade deficit in October was bigger than
expected at 11.8 billion pounds ($15.0 billion), and its total
deficit for goods and services for the three months to September
was revised up to 9.8 billion pounds from 2.9 billion pounds.
The ONS said this revision was likely to erase the 0.8
percentage point positive contribution which net trade would
have made to third-quarter GDP growth. The initial estimate of
GDP was made primarily by looking at output components of GDP,
so the revision did not necessarily imply revised growth would
be weaker but did suggest trade played less of a role.
Revised GDP data are due on Dec. 21.
($1 = 0.7857 pounds)
(Editing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg)
LONDON A Brexit outcome that left a large segment of the British people feeling betrayed would damage the country more than the small economic cost of Prime Minister Theresa May's preferred Brexit plan, Chancellor Philip Hammond said on Wednesday.
LONDON Any Brexit outcome that left a large chunk of the British people feeling betrayed would damage the country more than the modest economic cost of pursuing Prime Minister Theresa May's preferred Brexit plan, finance minister Philip Hammond said on Wednesday.
LONDON Uncertainty about the terms of Brexit next March clobbered British services firms last month, leaving the economy at risk of contracting, a survey showed on Wednesday. | Video
LONDON On top of the risk that Britain will leave the European Union in March without a transition deal, its government faces an extra headache next year: the biggest debt-refinancing bill in recent history.
LONDON British science and universities minister, Sam Gyimah, quit Prime Minister Theresa May's government on Friday, the sixth minister to resign in protest of her proposed Brexit deal with the European Union.
LONDON Net migration of European Union citizens to Britain fell to its lowest level in nearly six years during the year to June, extending a decline seen since Britain voted to leave the European Union in 2016, official data showed on Thursday.
LONDON British consumers' confidence fell to its lowest level in almost a year as their view of the economic outlook for the next 12 months sank to its weakest since shortly after 2016's Brexit vote, a survey showed on Thursday.
LONDON Britain's government and the Bank of England warned on Wednesday that a no-deal Brexit would hammer the economy, while Prime Minister Theresa May's plan for leaving the European Union, opposed by many lawmakers, could soften the blow.