UK GDP Growth Rises In Q4

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Economists at Investec - who are forecasting a 0.4 per cent rise for the quarter - believe full-year growth for 2017 is likely to come in at a five-year low of 1.8 per cent, compared with 1.9 per cent in 2016.

"With this confirmation that UK Plc made a solid, if unspectacular, end to 2017, the more optimistic are even daring to predict that things could improve in 2018".

The 0.5 per cent growth was driven by a strong performance in services, up by 0.6 per cent, and manufacturing, which soared 1.3 per cent.

Services grew 0.6% quarter on quarter, with business and financial services making the biggest contribution.

The BOE raised interest rates for the first time in a decade in November after assessing that supply constraints mean the economy can now grow by only 1.5% a year without generating inflation.

Bank of England governor Mark Carney said in Davos recently that he expects the United Kingdom economy to "recouple" with the global economy this year as Brexit negotiations provide greater clarity over our future trading relationship with Europe.

Head of GDP Darren Morgan said: "Despite a slight uptick in the latest quarter, the underlying picture is of slower and uneven growth across the economy".

Policy makers will announce their next policy decision, as well as unveil new economic projections, on February 8.

He said the boost to the economy at the end of the year came from a range of services such as recruitment agencies, letting agents and office management though consumer-facing businesses saw much slower growth.

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The International Monetary Fund (IMF) earlier this month slashed the UK's growth outlook from 1.6 per cent to 1.5 per cent for 2019, the year it quits the European Union.

Ms O'Carrol said the figures underline "the IMF's stark message earlier this week: the world economy is doing very nicely, the United Kingdom economy less so".

Growth was expected to be 1.4%.

Sales are forecast to remain flat on month in December after rising 0.9 percent in November.

Another report from ONS showed that the index of services climbed 0.4% month-on-month in November, which was the biggest expansion since August 2016.

UK GDP was estimated to have increased by 0.5% in Q4 2017, compared with 0.4% Q3, preliminary ONS estimates show.

The 1.% fall in construction sector output was the third consecutive fall, "showing that Brexit risk has reduced long-term investment", Tombs added.

The estimate is based on 44% of the data that will ultimately be available.

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