Pound is lifted by UK growth as retail sales and confidence slow

Julian Harris
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STERLING jumped yesterday after the UK statistics office confirmed the economy grew by 0.8 per cent in the third quarter of the year, driven by investment and consumer spending.

But sentiment was dampened by a separate business survey showing disappointingly flat retail sales this month. This morning another survey shows consumer confidence rising at its slowest rate since February.

Data from the final quarter of the year from YouGov and the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR), shows “improvements in consumer confidence are starting to level off.”

The findings mirror yesterday’s distributive trades survey from the CBI, which dropped to an index score of plus one this month, down from plus two in October. The score was its lowest since June, and disappointed many analysts who had expected it to rise sharply. But the pound still ended the day up, having been boosted by the morning’s official data releases.

The UK economy grew by 1.5 per cent in the year to the third quarter, the ONS confirmed. Business investment, which has been a drag on the recovery, grew 1.4 per cent in the three months to the end of September compared to the previous three-month period.
Consumer spending, which makes up for nearly two-thirds of UK economic expenditure, rose by 0.8 per cent, its fastest pace since 2010’s quarter two.