UK economy grows 0.1% in the first quarter

The UK financial system eked out development within the first quarter of the 12 months, accelerating at a modest tempo to make sure that the financial system is just not at rapid threat of recession.

Quarterly development between January and March rose by 0.1 per cent in contrast with the identical interval final 12 months, in step with economists’ forecasts and matching weak development figures recorded on the finish of 2022.

The UK’s development outlook has brightened in current months after a pointy decline in international power costs lowered the probabilities of a recession hitting this 12 months. A recession is outlined as two consecutive quarters of falling development.

The Workplace for Nationwide Statistics (ONS) mentioned that development in March had declined by 0.3 per cent, following no development in February and a 0.5 per cent enlargement in January. Greater quarterly output was the results of a 0.5 per cent development within the manufacturing sector, a 0.1 per cent rise in companies and a 0.7 per cent acceleration within the building trade.

The UK’s total financial efficiency was hit by nationwide industrial motion by civil servants demanding higher pay. Output in schooling, well being and public administration all declined within the first three months of the 12 months on account of strikes.

March’s outright fall in development might be attributable to the strikes, the ONS mentioned, highlighting its enterprise surveys, which have discovered that one in ten companies throughout the nation had been affected by industrial motion.

The figures come a day after the Financial institution of England revised up its development outlook by the best margin on report, wiping out its earlier predictions that the financial system would succumb this 12 months to the longest recession in half a century.

The Financial institution’s improve was the results of a 40 per cent decline in international fuel costs this 12 months, coupled with authorities help for family power payments and a better-than-expected international financial system serving to companies. The Financial institution now expects annual development to broaden by 0.25 per cent this 12 months, in contrast with an earlier forecast of a 0.5 per cent contraction.

Economists anticipate that development within the second quarter will stay anaemic as a result of the continuation of strike motion and an extra financial institution vacation to mark the King’s coronation will weigh on output.

Jeremy Hunt, the chancellor, mentioned: “It’s excellent news that the financial system is rising however to succeed in the federal government’s development precedence we have to keep targeted on aggressive taxes, labour provide and productiveness.

“The Financial institution of England governor confirmed yesterday that the Funds has made an essential begin however we are going to maintain going till the job is completed and we’ve got the excessive wage, excessive development financial system we want.”

Samual Tombs, chief UK economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, mentioned the UK stays the one G7 nation through which the primary quarterly measure of GDP has not recovered to its pre-Covid peak but. “This mainly displays weak point in households’ actual spending, which was 2.3 per cent beneath its This autumn 2019 stage. However at the very least the magnitude of the underperformance is just not growing relative to different nations in Europe, which have confronted a equally monumental power worth shock,” he mentioned.

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