UK economy's summer surge turns out stronger than expected

The British economy’s summer surge turned out to be stronger than expected as warm weather spurred consumer spending and housebuilding, official data showed on Wednesday.
FILE PHOTO: A shopper carries a bag advertising a sale on Oxford Street in London, Britain December 26, 2015. REUTERS/Neil Hall/File Photo
Gross domestic product in the three months to August grew 0.7 percent compared with the previous three-month period, beating the consensus forecast in a Reuters poll for a 0.6 percent expansion.
Growth over the three months to July was revised higher also to 0.7 percent.
Wednesday’s data are likely to reassure the Bank of England about the economy’s momentum as Brexit approaches in March.
Britain’s economy slowed after the June 2016 Brexit vote, its growth rate slipping from top spot among the Group of Seven rich nations to jostling with long-term laggards Japan and Italy for bottom place in the rankings.
Consumers in particular were squeezed by the jump in inflation which followed the pound’s tumble after the referendum, especially as wages have failed to keep up.
That said, in recent months an unusually warm summer and the soccer World Cup encouraged many to splash out on drinks and pub and restaurant visits.
“The economy continued to rebound strongly after a weak spring with retail, food and drink production and housebuilding all performing particularly well during the hot summer months,” ONS statistician Rob Kent-Smith said.
“However, long-term growth continues to lag behind its historical trend.”
In August alone, the economy stagnated, compared with forecasts for a rise of 0.1 percent.
In year-on-year terms, growth slowed in August to 1.5 percent from 1.7 percent in July.