Saturday, February 16, 2019 | ePaper

UK economy gathers speed, outpaces eurozone

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AFP, London :
Britain's economy picked up speed to outpace the eurozone in the second quarter despite mounting concerns over Brexit, official data showed Friday, helped partly by sunny weather and the World Cup football tournament.
Gross Domestic Product - the value of all goods and services produced in
an economy - grew 0.4 percent in the three months to the end of June, the
Office for National Statistics (ONS) said in a statement. That was in line
with market expectations,
Britain, which is scheduled to leave the European Union next March, saw its economic activity outpace the eurozone which grew 0.3 percent in the same period.
Retail sales and construction in Britain were boosted by warm weather.
The economy meanwhile appeared to shrug off a string of company collapses on the high street, including budget chain Poundworld and electrical retailer Maplin.
World Cup revellers sent the cash tills ringing as manager Gareth
Southgate's England team progressed to the semi-finals at the tournament held in Russia.
"The pick-up in quarter two reflects, to some extent, consumers taking advantage of the warm weather and World Cup celebrations," the ONS said on Friday .
However, it also sounded a cautious note amid ongoing Brexit uncertainty -and stuttering trade talks between London and Brussels.
"Abstracting from these quarterly movements, the underlying trend in real GDP is one of slowing growth," the ONS warned.
The UK growth rate nevertheless marked an acceleration from 0.2-percent expansion in the first quarter, when GDP slid on frosty weather and heavy snowfall from the so-called Beast from the East.
"The economy picked up a little in the second quarter with both retail sales and construction helped by the good weather and rebounding from the effects of the snow earlier in the year," said Rob Kent-Smith, ONS head of national accounts.

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