UK economy grows faster than thought
The UK economy grew by more than previously reported in the final three months of 2016, according to the latest official estimate.
Gross Domestic Product (GDP) increased by 0.7%, up from 0.6%, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
The upward revision is mainly due to manufacturing industry having done better than thought.
The ONS cut its estimate for growth in 2016 as a whole to 1.8%, down from the 2% it forecast last month.
This downward revision pushes UK slightly below Germany, with an estimate of 1.9%, in the G7 growth league, said John Hawksworth, chief economist at PwC, “though the difference is well within the margin of error on any such early GDP estimates.”
The downward revision appeared to have been prompted by weaker North Sea oil and gas production during the first six months of 2016, and did not reflect the underlying strength of the UK economy, he added.
“Excluding oil and gas output, estimated UK GDP growth might actually have been revised up in 2016,” added Mr Hawksworth.
The third revision of the figures will be on 31 March, after the Budget on 8 March.
“Unfortunately, this means that the chancellor won’t be able to say that the UK was the fastest-growing G7 economy in 2016 in his upcoming Budget – Germany grew by 1.9%,” said Capital Economics UK economist Paul Hollingsworth.