Belfast Telegraph

Consumer spending props up growth

By John-Paul Rojas

UK growth in the third quarter was propped up by the strongest increase in consumer spending for four years as business investment and the trade position worsened, official figures have shown.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) confirmed that gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 0.7% in the July-September period, a slow-down from the 0.9% expansion in the second quarter.

It was well ahead of the stuttering eurozone and slumping Japan but behind the US - which has just revised up its latest growth figures.

The data is likely to revive concerns about the recovery's reliance on households rather than industry as Chancellor George Osborne prepares to deliver his autumn statement next week.

Consumer spending grew by 0.8%, its strongest pace since the second quarter of 2010, with analysts pointing to improved household confidence and signs that a six-year squeeze on real terms pay is starting to ease.

Meanwhile, the dominant services sector - which represents more than three-quarters of output - grew by 0.8% in the quarter, better than previously thought. And separate figures showed it returned on month-on-month growth in September, up 0.5%. But business investment in the third quarter fell by 0.7%.

Belfast Telegraph

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