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Economic Growth Clocked at Sluggish 0.3% in Second Quarter

By Jon Munnery
27 June 2020

The UK’s overall gross domestic product (GDP) grew by just 0.3 per cent during the second three-month period of the year, according to official data on the subject.

Growth in the economy has been sluggish in recent quarters and the figures for the second quarter of this year represent only a slight increase in pace from the 0.2 per cent recorded for the first quarter of 2017.

Most expert observers expected the latest GDP growth figure to come in at around 0.3 per cent in Q2 for a variety of reasons, not least as a result of the uncertainty surrounding the UK’s exit from the European Union.

Indeed, Brexit uncertainty is being cited by many as reason enough to expect the UK economy to struggle for growth over the course of the next two years.

“Economic growth has remained sluggish in line with our expectations,” commented Rain Newton-Smith, chief economist at the Confederation of British Industry (CBI).

“We expect growth to remain lukewarm over the next couple of years, so providing businesses with certainty and stability has never been more important.”

What good news there was in the latest Office for National Statistics (ONS) numbers came primarily from within the services sector, which accounts for roughly three-quarters of all production value across the country.

But while the film production industries and the retail sector were shown to have performed particularly well in the second quarter, both the construction and manufacturing industries saw their overall output levels fall back between April and June.

Economic experts have said that the latest UK GDP figures diminish the prospect of the Bank of England introducing a rise in its base rate of interest in the near future.

“The confirmation of the lacklustre performance of the economy so far this year surely diminishes the chance of an interest rate hike any time soon,” said Chris Williamson, IHS Markit’s chief economist.

“Especially as growth prospects for coming months have become increasingly skewed to the downside,” he said.

Relatively high levels of consumer price inflation recorded throughout the country in recent months had prompted concern that there would soon be an interest rate rise for the first time in a decade.

Jonathan Munnery
Partner
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