The UK economy grew by 0.3 per cent in the three months to the end of February, a faster than expected rate.
Economists had expected growth of 0.2 per cent for the quarter, and zero per cent for February, instead the economy grew by 0.2 per cent in February.
Samuel Tombs, economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, said the reason economists were too pessimistic is that data from the purchasing managers index (PMI) was very negative in February, but such indicators tend to be overly pessimistic at times of political uncertainty.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS), which compiled the figures, stated an element of the economic growth came from stockpiling, particularly in the construction industry, ahead of the UK’s expected exit from the EU.
Ulas Akincilar, head of trading at Infinox, noted that UK economic growth continues to be driven by the performance of the services sector of the economy, with the manufacturing and construction sectors continuing to perform poorly.
Yael Selfin, chief economist at KPMG, said the pace of economic growth slowed between January, when it was 0.5 per cent, and February, when it was 0.2 per cent, and such erratic economic performance does not bode well for the performance of the economy in the future.
Ms Selfin added that a prolonged delay to the Brexit process is likely to damage the potential growth rate of the economy for years to come.
By David Thorpe
Source: FT Adviser