Brexit stockpiling delivers rush of growthThe ONS said “it is difficult to unpick” the part Brexit stockpiling has played in pushing up manufacturing output, but others said it made a “sizeable contribution” to growth. Stockpiling pushed the industry to a 13-month high in March, according to a closely-followed index. PwC’s senior economist, Mike Jakeman, said it reflects companies’ preparations to avoid the consequences of a no-deal Brexit in time for the UK’s original 29 March departure date.
“With warehouses bulging, we now expect inventories to subtract from growth in the coming months,” he warned. “Manufacturing output was clearly the star performer on the output side of the economy as it markedly outstripped quarter-on-quarter growth in the services sector,” added Howard Archer, chief economic adviser to the EY Item Club. He said stockpiling "provided a major boost" to the sector. Construction grew just one per cent while the services sector saw a slowdown to 0.3 per cent growth, though industrial production rose 1.4 per cent compared to the previous quarter. Consumer spending grew 0.7 per cent quarter on quarter as purchasing power and a record employment rate both helped the economy.