Official word from statisticians that the second quarter’s growth was no worse than expected came as one of the few positive economic surprises of recent months.
The Office for National Statistics said gross domestic product rose by 0.2 per cent from the first quarter, and that, after stripping out the effects of some unusual events that depressed output, it was likely to have done even better by up to 0.5 percentage points.
In making its calculation, the ONS said it took account of factors that dragged output down.
These included a slowdown in motor production from supply-chain disruptions after the tsunami in Japan; an extra bank holiday in April; and warm weather that cut demand for electricity and gas.
Offsetting that was a pick-up in the hotels and restaurants sector as Britons flocked to eateries to enjoy fine weather and the royal wedding holiday.
Economists found evidence in the data hinting that some parts of the economy showed signs of recovery. In particular, the index of services for May, which accounts for roughly 75 per cent of GDP, bounced back sharply from April, registering a 1.6 per cent rise, the biggest month-on-month increase since July 2002 – more than reversing the 1.2 per cent drop in April.
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