United Kingdom growth revised upwards after manufacturing boost
Sterling strengthened as the Office for National Statistics revised up growth to 0.7% between October and December, thanks to a much better performance from manufacturers than originally estimated.
Britain's economy sped up at the end of 2016, data showed, but over the whole year it was weaker than previously thought and there were signs that the Brexit vote will increasingly act as a brake on growth in 2017.
While the quarter saw a 1.2 per cent rise in consumer spending and a 1.8 per cent year-on-year growth in the services sector, The Share Centre economics commentator Michael Baxter is warning of mixed fortunes for 2017.
The ONS added the growth in 2016 is 1.8% higher than that in 2015, a 0.2 percentage points downward revision from the preliminary estimate. A slowdown in consumer spending and a drop in business investment raise questions about the extent to which such strong growth can be sustained.
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Separate data from the ONS showed that services, the dominant United Kingdom output sector, grew at the slowest pace in seven months. "The pattern of strong consumer spending and weaker business investment can only be a limited one".
The estimate for business investment was also disappointing, showing a 1 per cent contraction over the final quarter of previous year. Investment by companies was 0.9 percent lower compared with the fourth quarter of 2015.
Mr Hawksworth expected a slowdown in United Kingdom growth this year, predicting a fall to around 1.5 per cent as higher inflation bites into consumer spending power.
Chris Williamson, chief business economist at IHS Markit, said: "The news of faster the previously thought growth at the end of past year is marred by worrying signs about the durability of the upturn". Firms are expected to decrease their investment plans as Britain negotiates its departure from the EU.
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