UK economy
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The UK economy grew at its fastest rate in almost two years in the three months to September but business investment fell for the third consecutive quarter.

GDP grew by 0.6 per cent in the third quarter, the Office for National Statistics said today, confirming its initial estimate last month.

But the longer term picture remain “subdued” it said, with business investment dropping 1.1 per cent to £46.9bn.

It is the first time investment has dropped over three consecutive quarters since the economic downturn of 2008 to 2009.

The UK’s current account deficit widened by £6.6bn to £25bn (4.6 per cent of GDP) in the three months to the end of September – the largest deficit since the third quarter of 2016.

The widening was down to increased profits from British companies flowing to foreign investors.

EY Item Club economist Howard Archer said: “The further, marked rise in the current account deficit is disappointing as an elevated shortfall is a potential source of vulnerability for the UK economy – particularly if there was any major loss of investor confidence in the UK for any reason such as Brexit concerns.”

ONS figures also showed that borrowing in November was £7.2bn, the lowest November borrowing for 14 years and £900m less than the same month last year.

GDP growth was led by the services sector, while construction and manufacturing also contributed to the growth.

Household spending also increased 0.5 per cent, the eighth consecutive quarters in which households have spent more than they received.

Head of national accounts at the ONS Rob Kent-Smith said: “Today’s figures confirm the economy picked up in the third quarter with a solid showing from services and construction.

“However, the longer-term picture remains subdued and business investment has now fallen for three consecutive quarters.

“Households continued to spend more than they received, for an unprecedented eight quarters in a row.”

Source: City AM

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