United Kingdom economic growth picks up as stockpiling boosts manufacturing

The UK services sector slowed to 0.3 per cent growth but manufacturing offered a 2.2 per cent boost

The UK services sector slowed to 0.3 per cent growth but manufacturing offered a 2.2 per cent boost

Britain's economy enjoyed a strong start to the year thanks to a rise in stockpiling activity, which helped the manufacturing sector to expand at its fastest pace in 30 years, according to official figures.

Gross domestic product grew at a quarterly rate of 0.5% in the first quarter of 2019 after a sluggish 0.2% in late 2018, in line with expectations from the Bank of England as well as the consensus forecast in a Reuters poll of economists.

He said: "Some businesses brought activity forward early this year in preparation for leaving the European Union, so higher stocks and earlier orders have artificially bumped up the growth numbers".

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In the event, with just days to go before Britain was due to leave, Prime Minister Theresa May asked the European Union for more time to negotiate a deal. Brexit has now been delayed until October 31 unless there is an early agreement.

However, some sectors - such as vehicle dealers, wholesalers and warehouses reported relatively little stockpiling.

Just over half of the economic growth came from the manufacturing sector.

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The growth of the United Kingdom economy sped up at the beginning of the year, new data released today shows.

However, widespread uncertainty about the Brexit negotiations proved to have a greater impact in March as the services sector and construction industry went into reverse to leave GDP down 0.1% month on month. This quarter is already showing signs of slowing momentum after the respite, with month-on-month GDP growth in March dipping to -0.1%.

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