London: The UK economy unexpectedly stagnated in October, marking three straight months without growth for the first time since 2009.
Gross domestic product was unchanged following two consecutive months of decline, the Office for National Statistics said on Tuesday. Economists had forecast a 0.1 per cent expansion. GDP rose just 0.7 per cent from a year earlier, the smallest increase since June 2012.
The services sector grew from September, as did manufacturing as stockbuilding resumed ahead of the now-postponed October 31 Brexit deadline. However, this was offset by lower oil production and the steepest drop in construction output since the beginning of 2018.
The figures, which provide the last economic snapshot before voters go to the polls on Thursday, highlight the toll being taken by years of Brexit uncertainty and a worsening global backdrop.
Output stagnated in the latest three months, and Britain is on course for growth of little more than 1 per cent this year, its worst performance since the financial crisis a decade ago. PMI surveys for November showed the economy contracting across the board.
Polls suggest the Conservative Party is heading for a parliamentary majority in the December 12 election, which would allow Prime Minister Boris Johnson to deliver on his pledge to deliver Brexit by the new deadline of January 31.
His rival, Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn, has promised to renegotiate the exit agreement and then give the public the final say on whether Britain should leave the European Union.