UK Economy Recovers In May

The UK economy recovered in May with more holiday bookings and visits to doctors, data published by the Office for National Statistics showed Wednesday.

Gross domestic product grew 0.5 percent from April, when output was down by revised 0.2 percent. Economists had forecast GDP to remain flat after April’s initially estimated 0.3 percent fall.

On a yearly basis, GDP expanded 3.5 percent, much faster than the expected 2.7 percent.

Data suggests that the economy is holding up well in the face of high inflation, Paul Dales, an economist at Capital Economics, said. This may encourage the Bank of England to raise interest rates by 50 basis points, rather than 25 basis points, at the next policy meeting in August.

With real household disposable incomes set to fall further in the third quarter, a recession is still a real risk.

On the production-side, services output grew 0.4 percent in May as human health and social work activities advanced 2.1 percent, mainly because of a large rise in GP appointments, ONS data showed.

Meanwhile, output in consumer-facing services dropped 0.1 percent, driven by a 0.5 percent fall in retail trade. Nonetheless, output in the travel sector surged 11 percent due to a boom in holiday bookings.

Industrial production climbed 0.9 percent in May, thanks to the 1.4 percent increase in manufacturing and the 0.3 percent rise in electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply.

Industrial output was forecast to grow moderately by 0.2 percent and manufacturing to climb 0.1 percent.

At the same time, construction advanced 1.5 percent in May, faster than the 0.3 percent growth in April.

In three months to May, the economy expanded 0.4 percent from the preceding period.
In a separate communiqué, the ONS said the visible trade deficit narrowed slightly to GBP 21.45 billion from GBP 21.52 billion in April. The expected level was GBP 21.2 billion.

Exports of goods rose 7.4 percent on month in May with increases in shipments to both EU and non-EU countries. At the same time, imports advanced 4.3 percent, because of increasing imports from EU and non-EU countries.

Trade in services resulted in a surplus of GBP 11.69 billion versus a GBP 11.71 billion surplus a month ago. As a result, the overall trade deficit decreased to GBP 9.75 billion from GBP 9.81 billion.

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