The gross domestic product in the United Kingdom expanded 1.4 percent year-on-year in the fourth quarter of 2018, compared to a preliminary estimate of 1.3 and the previous period's figure of 1.6 percent. Household consumption and government spending supported growth while business investment dropped and net trade contributed negatively to the expansion.
On the expenditure side, household expenditure rose 1.7 percent in the fourth quarter, little-changed from 1.8 percent in the previous period; and government spending surged 1 percent, reversing a 0.3 percent decline. By contrast, fixed investment dropped 1.1 percent (vs 0.2 percent in Q3) as business investment continued to contract (-2.5 percent vs -1.3 percent).
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Exports edged up 0.2 percent (vs -1.3 percent in Q3) and imports rose at a faster 2.6 percent (vs -0.1 percent in Q3). As a result, the trade deficit widened to £6.9 billion from £3.2 billion in Q4 2017.
On the production side, the service industries expanded 2 percent (vs 1.9 percent in Q3), as output rose for: distribution, hotels and restaurants (3.5 percent vs 3.4 percent); transport storage and communications (3.9 percent vs 4.5 percent); business services and finance (1.4 percent, the same as in Q3); and government and other services (1.1 percent vs 0.3 percent). Construction grew 0.3 percent, after a 1.2 percent gain in Q3. By contrast, industrial production contracted 0.7 percent (vs 0.8 percent in Q3), as output fell for manufacturing (-1.3 percent vs 0.9 percent), electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply (-2.5 percent vs -1.9 percent) and water supply, sewerage, waste management and remediation activities (-0.7 percent vs 0.2 percent). Mining and quarrying jumped 8.7 percent, following a 4.6 percent advance in Q3.
Considering 2018 full year, the economy grew 1.4 percent, slower than 1.8 percent in 2017.