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United Kingdom economy stalls in fourth quarter of 2019

The UK's economy grew by just 1.4 per cent in 2019 according to ONS figures The UK's economy grew by just 1.4 per cent in 2019 according to ONS figures
Conrad Doyle | 13 February, 2020, 11:44

The Office for National Statistics says the UK's GDP grew zero percent from the previous quarter during the October-to-December period.

Ruth Gregory, senior economist at Capital Economics England, suggested that the flat growth seen at the end of this year will be "proved to be the low point".

The ONS said growth in the services and construction sectors was offset by a "poor showing from manufacturing, particularly the motor industry". Manufacturing production grew by 0.3%, compared to a -1.7% contraction in November, and industry grew by 0.1%, compared to a -1.2% contraction in the prior month. Manufacturing output fell in the October-December period by the most since the third quarter of 2013, down 2.5 per cent from the same period a year earlier, reflecting vehicle plant shutdowns in November, when Britain faced the prospect of a no-deal Brexit.

Manufacturing contracted for the third quarter in a row while the services sector also went through a brief period of sluggishness.

Kent-Smith added: "The underlying trade deficit widened, as exports of services fell, partially offset by a fall in goods imports".

Brexit was originally scheduled for March 2019, but then it was delayed until October and then again until January of this year. Quarterly data showed the economy stagnated at 0% in the final quarter of 2019.

It is still too early to tell if Britons were stockpiling in December to prepare for the final Brexit date in January 2020.

"Under the circumstances a 1.4-percent growth rate wasn't bad - and after all it was marginally better than 2018 and last year's euro area growth rate". Many vehicle producers chose to shut down their factories for shorter periods earlier in the year.

ONS revised its growth figures for the third quarter of 2019 to 0.5% from an earlier estimate of 0.4%.

"In my Budget, exactly one month from today, I'll set out how we will move forward, with more ambition and new thinking, and empower our people and businesses so everyone has the opportunity to thrive".

Chancellor in the outgoing shadow of work, John McDonnell, said: & # 39; These are damning figures that show an economy going through a decade of decline.

"The UK economy faced headwinds from domestic political uncertainty and softening global growth past year", said Ian Stewart, chief economist at Deloitte.

Morgan Stanley said it expects United Kingdom growth to rebound in the first quarter of 2020.

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