Chamber News 10th August 2018
UK GDP grew by 0.4% in the second quarter, driven mainly by growth in services, and a positive contribution from construction.
Commenting on the figures, Liz Cameron, Chief Executive, Scottish Chambers of Commerce said: “It’s encouraging to see an upswing in quarterly GDP growth given the challenging first quarter experienced by many firms, particularly in the construction sector. It’s also positive to see rolling quarterly growth strengthen from the flat figures observed earlier in the year. However, by historical standards, growth remains somewhat muted.
“This set of quarterly data has illustrated some of the current challenges in the manufacturing industry, with the data highlighting a concerning decline in the UK’s exports of cars and aircraft. It’s disappointing and should act as a red alert to see declines in these industries alongside a widening trade deficit.
“Fundamentally, one of the key factors which has influenced performance across a range of sectors in the first half of the year is the weather, which has benefitted the retail sector in particular over this quarter. The stable weather also allowed for stronger growth in the construction sector, which was negatively affected by the exceptional weather conditions in early 2018.
“The economic trends here simply reinforce the need for the UK’s respective Governments to work in partnership with the private sector to increase the exporting ambitions of our firms. We can’t control the weather, but we can act to grow the confidence and ability of firms to engage in international trade, which will act to insulate our economy from chilly domestic conditions.“