UK GDP grows 0.3% in second quarter, first half lacklustre

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Output in construction fell 0.9 per cent in Q2 2017, with the industry's performance worse than all other major sectors of the United Kingdom economy in the three months from April to June.

Commenting on the figures, Darren Morgan, head of national accounts at the Office for National Statistics, said: "The economy has experienced a notable slowdown in the first half of this year".

The ONS said growth during the quarter was largely driven by the services sector, which expanded 0.5% during the period, particularly retail and the thriving film industry.

Motion pictures were the second biggest contributor from the services sector, growing by 8.2 per cent and bolstering GDP by 0.07 percentage points.

Taken together, the data for the first and second quarters indicate a first half performance that was lacklustre and suggest that the Bank of England will likely keep interest rates unchanged for the time being.

Another report from the ONS showed that services output increased 0.2% in May from April. The economy is now forecast to grow 1.7% in 2017 and 1.5% in 2018.

The preliminary estimates of GDP do not include a breakdown of spending, and are heavily based on estimated data.

Howard Archer, chief economic advisor, said, "The EY ITEM Club sees GDP growth limited to 1.5% in 2017, which would be the weakest performance since 2012 and down from 1.8% in 2016".

In reaction to the news, sterling fell by 0.12% against the dollar while the FTSE 100 was up 0.65% to 7,483 points.

Chris White, head of United Kingdom equities at Premier Asset Management, says it is likely that 'given the lack of consensus and clarity surrounding Brexit, the UK's economic growth will wane, at least on a relative basis compared to other European countries.

And the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) anticipates that the United Kingdom economy will grow by just 1.3 per cent in 2017, a substantial downward revision from an earlier forecast of 1.7 per cent.

Construction output also paid back much of the 1.1 percent gain seen in the first quarter, declining some 0.9 percent.

Nathan Sweeney, senior investment manager at Architas said the latest GDP figures show the United Kingdom economy is flat lining and will have those opposed to Brexit warning this will only get worse.

Wednesday's figures show that the economy, which had initially weathered well the uncertainty of the Brexit vote a year ago, is in a new, weaker phase. Meanwhile inflation began to recede, which if it continues in the coming months could end the squeeze on real incomes.

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