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Economy in Brief

UK GDP Rises 0.8% in Q4: A Brief Summary
by Carol Stone January 24, 2006

GDP in the UK gained 0.8% in Q4, the largest quarterly increase in 2-1/2 years, according to preliminary data reported today by the Office for National Statistics. The pick-up from 0.7% in Q3 occurred in the services sector. Contrary to at least one press report, this did not happen in the financial industries. Instead it was in old-line, traditional activities, including wholesale and retail trade, hotels and restaurants, and transportation and communications; these surged from marginal increases in Q3 to 1.4-1.8% in Q4. Finance and business services were hardly slow, at 1.0% growth in Q4, but they had been stronger at 1.3-1.4% earlier in the year.

Manufacturing had three firm quarter running, but came to a dead halt in Q4, with virtually no change at all. Even so, this put Q4/Q4 at 2.3%, the strongest since 1999. The mining sector (which includes oil production) stabilized after two quarters of steep decline, while utility output continued to contract. In fact, electricity, gas and water supply fell 5.2% Q4/Q4 and 3.2% for 2006 as a whole, the weakest performance since the massive coal miners' strike in 1984.

UK GDP SA, % Changes Q4 2006 "Prel"  Q3 2006  Q2 2006 Year/Year 2006 2005 2004 2003
GDP 0.8 0.7 0.7 3.0 2.7 2.0 3.2 2.6
Manufacturing 0.0 0.6 0.9 2.3 1.2 -1.1 2.0 0.2
Mining inc Oil Extraction -0.1 -3.8 -3.7 -7.6 -8.0 -8.7 -7.9 -5.1
Electricity, Gas & Water Supply -2.3 -0.2 -2.7 -5.2 -3.2 0.3 1.2 1.6
Services 1.0 0.8 1.0 3.6 3.7 2.9 3.9 3.1
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