Economy set to avoid second quarter contraction as auto production revs up

10 Juillet, 2019, 19:22 | Auteur: Auguste Feret
  • UK economic growth

'The economy returned to growth in the month of May, following the fall seen in April.

United Kingdom economic growth exceeded forecasts in May, spurred on by a resurgence in British vehicle production after Brexit-related shutdowns hurt the sector earlier in the year, according to data from the Office of National Statistics (ONS).

If the reading here comes in within expectations (+0.3% m/m), economists anticipate that it would require the United Kingdom economy to grow by a whopping 0.8% m/m in June to even post flat growth in Q2 2019.

Vehicle manufacturers in Britain brought forward their annual summer maintenance shutdowns to April to help dodge potential disruption in the aftermath of the original March 29 Brexit deadline, which has now been pushed back to October.

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Britain's economy grew by more than expected in May, helped by a rebound in vehicle production after Brexit-related shutdowns, according to figures that will ease concerns about the extent of the country's slowdown. The ONS warns that single-month growth figures can prove volatile, preferring to assess the economy over a three-month period. "This was mainly due to the partial recovery in vehicle production", ONS statistician Rob Kent-Smith said.

Analysts warned the economy could still shrink in the second quarter as no-deal Brexit fears mount, with closely watched surveys of business activity suggesting negative growth of 0.1% in the three months to June.

Suren Thiru, head of economics at the British Chambers of Commerce, said: "The continued slowdown on the underlying three-month measure is further evidence that the United Kingdom economy is faltering under the weight of relentless Brexit uncertainty and tougher global economic conditions". But barring a miracle from June data, the United Kingdom economy is likely to have contracted in Q2 for the first time in seven years.

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