According to the latest figures released by the Office for National Statistics, UK gross domestic product (GDP)* in volume terms was estimated to have increased by 0.5% in Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar) 2019 having slowed to 0.2% growth in the previous quarter.
The 0.5% growth is in line with the latest expectations from the Bank of England and slightly above those from the National Institute of Economic and Social Research. The UK economy grew by 1.8% compared with the same quarter in the previous year (Figure 1), its fastest rate since Quarter 3 (July to Sept) 2017.
UK economists suggest that this growth is largely due to manufacturing companies stockpiling goods ahead of Brexit and the now lapsed date of 31st March when the UK was to leave the European Union (EU).
During Q1, the manufacturing industry grew at its fastest rate – 2.2% – since 1988.
Although x-party talks continue in Government, the date for leaving the EU has been extended to the end of October.
Growth in the services sector slowed to 0.3% in the latest quarter, while there was a noticeable pickup in growth in the production sector, driven by growth in manufacturing output.
*Gross domestic product (GDP) growth is the main indicator of economic performance. There are three approaches used to measure GDP; the output approach, the expenditure approach and the income approach. Further information on all three approaches to measuring GDP can be found in the short guide to national accounts (PDF, 317KB).