UK economy loses steam in third quarter

UK

The U.K. economy grew less than expected in the third quarter, according to preliminary estimates from the Office of National Statistics (ONS).

The U.K.'s gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 0.5 percent percent in the three months from July to September, missing expectations for a 0.6 percent expansion. In the second quarter of 2015, the economy expanded 0.7 percent.

Year on year, the economy grew 2.3 percent, the lowest rate of growth since the third quarter of 2013.

The ONS said growth increased in three of the main industrial groupings of the economy. Services increased by 0.7 percent, production increased by 0.3 percent and agriculture increased by 0.5 percent. In contrast, construction growth decreased by 2.2 percent.

Whether the data is enough to prompt the Bank of England's rate-setting committee to increase interest rates sooner rather than later is uncertain, however.

Inflation is still far from the bank's target of 2 percent (in fact, consumer prices fell by 0.1 percent in September) meaning that the bank could keep interest rates lower for longer in a bid to increase spending.

Sterling fell against the dollar following the release of the data.

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