UK year-on-year GDP rising at 1.1%


The UK returned to growth in the first quarter of 2002, with final GDP rising 0.1 per cent over the period, for a 1.1 per cent year-on-year rise, according to figures released by National Statistics (NS).

The upward revision to growth reflects new information on construction output from the Department of Trade and Industry and already published production data, NS said.

A 0.1 revision upwards from the provisional estimates of zero quarterly growth and 1 per cent annual growth had been expected, but yesterday's business investment data for the first quarter had raised some fears that there may even be a revision lower.

The governor of the Bank of England, Mr Eddie George, was one who expected an upgrade. Earlier this month, he voiced his surprise at the flat growth recorded in the provisional estimate.

The first quarter GDP figure provided valuable ammunition for those members of the Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) looking for rates to be kept on hold at 4 per cent. The next rate-setting MPC meeting is next week.

The GDP deflator is estimated to have risen 1.7 per cent on the quarter, from a previous estimate of 1.3 per cent. It is also estimated to be 3.4 per cent higher over the same quarter in 2001, against a provisional estimate of 3.6.

NS said the changes reflected the impact of import prices and the export of goods and services.

Output of the production industries fell by only 1.2 per cent on the quarter from a previous estimate of 1.5 per cent, for a 5.6 per cent year-on-year decline. NS said agricultural output increased for the first time in six quarters.

Quarterly service sector growth was left unrevised at 0.2 per cent, while the year-on-year growth rate was reduced to 2.4 per cent from previous estimate of 3.1 per cent.