Recovering UK economy shows broader, faster growth

Fri Aug 23, 2013 6:53am EDT
 
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By Olesya Dmitracova and Kate Holton

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's economy grew faster than expected in the second quarter, benefiting from a broad-based pick-up in activity that looked to have put the country's burgeoning recovery on a firmer footing.

Gross domestic product expanded 0.7 percent from the previous quarter, data from the Office for National Statistics showed on Friday, beating its initial estimate and economists' forecasts and putting Britain's growth rate on a par with European powerhouse Germany.

"It does look like the recovery is becoming more self-sustaining," said Philip Shaw, economist at Investec.

Stocks gained after the data, which also showed output rose by a surprisingly strong 1.5 percent from a year ago.

The pound and government bond yields rose, highlighting expectations that the revival could force Britain's central bank to raise interest rates earlier than it has indicated.

British exports rose at the fastest pace since late 2011 and business investment grew faster than household spending, suggesting a shift towards more balanced growth in an economy that has been driven mainly by domestic consumption and imports.

RATES CONUNDRUM

In an effort to encourage spending and investment, the Bank of England said earlier this month it would not raise borrowing costs while unemployment remained above 7 percent, a level it did not expect to be breached for at least three years.   Continued...

 
A shopper leaves a Marks & Spencer store in Leicester, central England March 18, 2013. REUTERS/Darren Staples