Exports jumped by 4.6 percent, following a 2.1 percent drop in the previous period, while imports shrank 1 percent following a 2.3 percent gain. As a result, the trade deficit narrowed to £10.0 billion from £18.1 billion in Q3.
Household expenditure advanced by 0.7 percent (from 0.8 percent in Q3); and gross fixed capital formation edged up 0.1 percent (0.6 percent in Q3), despite a 0.9 percent contraction in business investment (from 0.4 percent in Q3), driven by falls within the other buildings and structures and transport equipment assets. Meanwhile, government spending showed no growth (from -0.1 percent in Q3); and the level of inventories rose by £12 million, following an increase of £1,448 million in the previous period.
From the production side,
the service industries increased by 0.8 percent following a 0.9 percent gain in Q3 and marking the 16th consecutive quarter of growth. Output rose for: Distribution, hotels and catering (2 percent from 1.1 percent in Q3); transport, storage and communication (0.8 percent from 2.6 percent); business services and finance (0.5 percent from 0.7 percent); and government and other services (0.3 percent, the same as in Q3). Industrial output increased by 0.4 percent (-0.4 percent in Q3), as output expanded for: manufacturing (1.2 percent from -0.7 percent in Q3); electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply (4 percent from -4.3 percent); and water supply and sewerage (0.9 percent from -0.1 percent). By contrast, output from mining and quarrying (including oil and gas extraction) contracted by 6.9 percent (4.5 percent in Q3). Construction output advanced by 1 percent, following a 0.3 percent fall the previous period; and agriculture grew 1 percent, the first increase in four quarters.
Compared to the same period of 2015, the economy expanded 1.9 percent, worse than a second estimate of a 2 percent expansion.
Looking at 2016 as a whole, growth slowed to 1.8 percent from 2.2 percent in 2015 and 3.1 percent in 2014.