The UK economy expanded at the fastest pace in almost a year in July as warm weather boosted retail sales amid a recovery in construction.
Gross domestic product grew 0.6 percent in three months to July, the fastest since August 2017, data from the Office for National Statistics revealed Monday. The rate was faster than the expected 0.5 percent and 0.4 percent posted in the second quarter.
“Services grew particularly strongly, with retail sales performing well, boosted by warm weather and the World Cup,” Head of GDP Rob Kent-Smith, said. “The construction sector also bounced back after a weak start to the year.”
Kent-Smith said the dominant service sector again led economic growth in the month of July with engineers, accountants and lawyers all enjoying a busy period, backed up by growth in construction, which hit another record high level.
In July, GDP advanced 0.3 percent month-on-month, faster than the 0.1 percent rise in June.
ONS said industrial output climbed by less-than-expected 0.1 percent in July from June due primarily to a rise in mining and quarrying of 3.3 percent. Oil and gas extraction returned to production, following planned maintenance in June.
Meanwhile, manufacturing output contracted 0.2 percent, reversing a 0.4 percent rise in June. Economists had forecast both industrial and manufacturing output to gain 0.2 percent each in July.
On a yearly basis, growth in industrial production eased to 0.9 percent from 1.1 percent in June. Likewise, manufacturing output growth slowed to 1.1 percent from 1.5 percent.
In three months to July, services output grew 0.6 percent compared to three months to April, the largest growth since three months to January 2017.
In a separate communiqué, the ONS said construction output continued to recover following a relatively weak start to the year, increasing by 3.3 percent in the three months to July.
The UK visible trade deficit narrowed to a 5-month low in July, ONS data showed. The deficit on trade in goods fell to GBP 9.97 billion from GBP 10.68 billion in June.
At the same time, the surplus on services increased to GBP 9.8 billion from GBP 9.7 billion a month ago. As a result, the total trade showed a negative balance of GBP 111 million compared to -GBP 942 million in June.
The total UK trade deficit narrowed GBP 1.4 billion to GBP 3.4 billion in the three months to July.