UK Growth in Third Quarter Confirmed at 0.4%

By Jason Douglas and Wiktor SzaryFeaturesDow Jones Newswires

The U.K. economy grew at a steady if unspectacular pace in the third quarter, according to the latest official estimate, fueled by household spending and a larger rise in business investment than inititally thought.

In its third and final estimate, the Office for National Statistics on Friday confirmed that the economy grew 0.4% in the three months through September, an annualized rate of 1.6%.

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Spending by households and businesses, along with investment in homes and other buildings, powered the expansion. Trade made no contribution to growth as higher imports offset a boost to exports from a weak pound and buoyant global economy.

The world economy is enjoying a rare spell of synchronized growth, but according to Bank of England Governor Mark Carney, the U.K. is partly missing out as uncertainty over the country's future ties to the European Union weighs on activity. The U.K. is due to leave the bloc in 2019.

The International Monetary Fund said this week that it expects the economy to slow in 2018 in response to weakening consumer spending and poor productivity growth.

ONS figures Friday showed British household spending outpaced household income for the fourth successive quarter in the three months through September, the first time that has happened since records began three decades ago.

The ONS added Friday that the U.K.'s current-account deficit narrowed in the third quarter, aided by a pickup in earnings on British assets overseas. The deficit narrowed to 22.8 billion pounds ($30.54 billion), equivalent to 4.5% of annual gross domestic product. The deficit in the second quarter was GBP25.8 billion.

Write to Jason Douglas at jason.douglas@wsj.com and Wiktor Szary at wiktor.szary@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

December 22, 2017 04:55 ET (09:55 GMT)