The gross domestic product in the United Kingdom grew 1.8 percent year-on-year in the first quarter of 2019, unrevised from the first estimate and up from 1.4 percent in the previous period. That was the strongest pace of expansion since the third quarter of 2017.
On the expenditure side, household expenditure rose 1.9 percent in the first quarter (vs 1.7 percent in Q4); and government spending advanced 1.6 percent (vs 1.0 percent in Q4). In addition, fixed investment surged 0.9 percent (vs -1.1 percent in Q4) despite a further decline in business investment (-1.5 percent vs -2.5 percent).
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Imports jumped 14.3 percent, following a 2.6 percent increase in Q4; while exports rose at a much slower 3.0 percent, after a 0.2 percent gain in the previous period. As a result, the trade deficit widened sharply to £21.582 billion, the widest deficit on record, from £4.268 billion in Q1 2018.
On the production side, the service industries expanded 2.1 percent (vs 2.0 percent in Q4), as output rose for: distribution, hotels and restaurants (4.4 percent vs 3.5 percent); transport storage and communications (4.8 percent vs 3.9 percent); business services and finance (0.8 percent vs 1.4 percent); and government and other services (1.2 percent vs 1.1 percent). Industrial production rebounded 0.3 percent (vs -0.7 percent in Q4), as output grew for manufacturing (0.9 percent vs -1.3 percent), mining & quarrying (4.9 percent vs 8.7 percent), and water supply, sewerage, waste management and remediation activities (0.5 percent vs -0.7 percent). By contrast, utilities output contracted for the fourth straight period (-6.3 percent vs -2.5 percent). Construction expansion accelerated to 3.2 percent from 0.3 percent in Q4.