The UK economy expanded better-than-expected

The UK economy expanded better-than-expected

Britain’s economy unexpectedly picked up speed in the last three months of 2017, according to data, released today.

Gross domestic product grew at its fastest pace of 2017, rising by 0.5 percent from the third quarter and beating the median forecast in a Reuters poll of economists that growth would remain at 0.4 percent.

But the Office for National Statistics said the big picture was one of a slower and more uneven expansion in the world’s sixth-biggest economy as it approaches its departure from the European Union in March next year.

In 2017 as a whole, growth was 1.8 percent compared with 1.9 percent in 2016, the slowest since 2012. For comparison, the International Monetary Fund expects growth of 2.4 percent in the euro zone last year.

Investors took the data as a sign that the Bank of England might move more quickly towards only its second interest rate hike in more than a decade.

Sterling added to its recent strong rise against the U.S. dollar and climbed against the euro. [GBP/]

The Bank of England said last month it expected the economy might have slowed slightly in late 2017.

“If the UK economy does indeed struggle to move up a gear over coming months, the Bank will likely have to tread carefully when deciding whether to raise rates again this year,” James Smith, an economist with ING, said.

Published: by Radio NewsHub
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