United Kingdom economic growth strengthens in third quarter to 0.4 per cent

Adjust Comment Print

Economists expected GDP to rise 0.3 percent in the third quarter.

Services and manufacturing did well during the quarter, up by 0.4% and 1% respectively. Responding to the figures, Chancellor Philip Hammond said boosting productivity would be the focus of his budget next month. A £150,000 25-year repayment mortgage at a rate of 7.75 per cent would have paid £1,133 per month in 2007.

United Kingdom growth gained a little momentum in the third quarter thanks to strong performances in the services sectors and a return to growth for manufacturing, official data revealed on Wednesday.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 0.4% in its initial estimate for July to September this year.

It comes as the Bank's Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) mulls whether to raise interest rates from record lows of 0.25% as inflation continues to soar.

Spain PM approves taking back powers from Catalonia
Barcelona resident Carlos Assensio agreed with Madrid, given the separatists' refusal to abide by Spain's laws. Rajoy could force the removal of Catalan officials and call early regional elections for as soon as January.

Shilen Shah, Bond Strategist at Investec Wealth & Investment, added: "With the year-on-year GDP figure coming in at 1.5%, all indications suggest the Bank of England is likely to increase base rates by 25bps at its November meeting".

If that is the case, it will be the first time rates have risen in a decade, with the pound gaining nearly half a cent on the dollar following the release of today's figures.

The expectation of a rate rise has pushed up swap rates - one of the factors that will determine how lenders price their fixed rates.

"A slightly improved performance from the United Kingdom economy in Q3, with output growing by 0.4%". So, while symbolically important, it's unlikely the first rate hike in ten years will be catastrophic for the economy.

A person on a tracker mortgage that has a 25-year £250,000 repayment tracker mortgage and who is paying 2 per cent interest could see their monthly £1,100 repayment rise by around £30 if BoE interest rates - which are now at 0.25 per cent - rise to 0.5 per cent. "The key for investors will be to be discerning between those companies who will benefit from rising interest rates and stronger growth and those, particularly those with high levels of debt, for who increased rates may be more problematic". "I expect the Bank to proceed with caution from here". The MPC at that point voted by seven to two members against changing rates in a bid to support economic growth.