UK momentum to continue into fourth quarter

THE BRITISH economy is still growing at the robust pace set during the third quarter of the year, as official statistics record another boost to industrial production.

A forecast released by the National Institute for Economic and Social Research (Niesr) suggests that the British economy grew by 0.8 per cent in the three months to November, matching the level recorded during the third quarter.

Niesr says that the broad-based growth they first recorded in spring has continued, adding: “These robust rates of growth are consistent with a gradual narrowing of the UK’s negative output gap.”

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) also confirmed that industrial production is still growing, up 0.4 per cent from September to October, and 3.2 per cent higher than the same month last year.

Manufacturing production came in slightly below expectations, but has expanded by 2.7 per cent over the 12 months to October.

“While a recovery in output is clearly in train, it may well prove more tentative than the current data suggest,” commented Jens Larsen, chief European economist at RBC Capital Markets.

The UK’s balance of trade, which was also announced by the ONS yesterday, came in at minus £2.62bn, indicating an overall trade deficit, which shrank very slightly from September. The UK’s significant trade surplus in services is more than offset by the large deficit in imported goods. Research from Capital Economics suggests that the UK’s nascent recovery from several years of stagnation is being led by London, as well as the south east and north west of England, while other regions have lagged behind during 2013..

“All 12 nations and regions now look to be growing, although on our estimates only the top three are outpacing the UK average. Next year, however, the east of England and the south west stand a good chance of joining them, with growth of perhaps three per cent in the year,” added Capital Economics’ Richard Holt.