Finance

It’s official — the UK economy grew by 0.7% at the end of 2016

A spectator, wearing a suit with Union flag design, looks on during the final of the 2013 Ladbrokes.com World Darts Championship at the Alexandra Palace on January 1, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by )Someone’s excited for GDP day…Ben Hoskins/Getty Images

LONDON — UK GDP officially grew by 0.7% in the fourth quarter of 2016, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) confirmed on Friday.

Economists had been expecting the reading to be unchanged from 0.7%, which it had been pegged at in February. The 0.7% figure was itself an upgrade on January’s estimate of 0.6% growth. And the 0.6% figure beat economists forecasts at the time of 0.5% growth. So numbers are moving in the right direction.

The ONS put the growth down to a “continuation of strong consumer spending and strong output in consumer-focused industries.” Household spending increased by £2 billion in the final three months of 2016.

However, the ONS warned of “a slowdown within business investment which fell by 0.9% driven by falls within the other buildings and structures and transport equipment assets, although this is a slightly improved picture from the second estimate of GDP, being revised up by 0.1 percentage points.” A slowdown in business investment could hit future growth.

The ONS says in an emailed statement: “Services dropped slightly in January with weak performances from hotels and the motor trade. However, the long-term picture is still one of robust growth.”

The 0.7% figure is a measure of GDP growth on the previous quarter. GDP grew 1.9% in the year between the final quarter of 2015 and the final quarter of 2016. That was a slight downward revision on what economists had been expecting, which was 2% growth.

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