10 Dec 2018
Commenting on the GDP and trade statistics for October 2018, published today by the ONS, Suren Thiru, Head of Economics at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said:
“The latest GDP data is further evidence that the drag effect of persistent Brexit uncertainty and the significant cost pressures faced by consumers and businesses is taking its toll on the UK economy.
“The slowdown on the underlying three-month measure of GDP was largely driven by weaker service sector growth as car sales fell. That said, the service sector still made the largest contribution to overall economic activity, with manufacturing and construction adding little to overall UK growth.
“The widening in the UK’s trade deficit is a concern and reflects a sharp rise in goods imports. Trading conditions for UK exporters are deteriorating amid moderating global growth and uncertainty over Brexit. Businesses continue to report that the persistent weakness in sterling is hurting as much as its helping, with the weakening currency raising input costs.
“It is vital that firms get the clarity and precision they need on future terms of trade, who they can hire, what rules they will need to follow, and what more the government will do to support them through this turbulent period.”