United Kingdom economic growth hits six-month low

UK trade balance

Manufacturers were hit hard, suffering their longest period of monthly falls in output since the financial crisis, caused partly by weaker overseas demand, the ONS said.

Services output grew 0.3 percent from the previous month after a 0.2 percent increase in October.

Industrial output slowed worldwide in late 2018, raising fears the global economy is losing steam as trade tensions rise and Chinese consumers trim spending.

This is in line with Germany and France, which have also recorded falling industrial output.

"There may well be a common theme which is hurting the factory sector throughout Europe, for example changes in the auto industry", Investec chief economist Philip Shaw said, adding that Brexit worries were also weighing on investment. Another headwind in Europe has been a slump in the production of diesel vehicles following an emissions scandal. She is widely expected to lose a critical parliamentary vote on Brexit on Tuesday, throwing the course of Brexit into doubt. Defeat would leave open the prospect of Britain leaving the European Union without any transitional arrangements to smooth the economic shock.

Friday's figures showed that compared with a year earlier, the economy stood 1.4 percent larger. Economists had predicted a 0.1 percent gain.

United Kingdom economic growth looks set to slow to a quarterly rate of 0.3 percent in the fourth quarter of 2018 from 0.6 percent in the third quarter, according to data from the National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR), an independent economics think-tank in London.

The main driver to growth was retail sales, which saw a boost from Black Friday promotions, which was partially offset by a slight contraction in legal activities and accounting, the ONS said.

After the data, forecasters at the National Institute of Economic and Social Research, a think tank, downgraded their fourth-quarter growth forecast to 0.3 percent from 0.4 percent but predicted 0.4 percent growth for the first quarter of 2019.

However, Brexit uncertainties and their effects on economic performance could become more noticeable, Kara said.

That said, an unusually warm summer in mid-2018 encouraged many to splash out on drinks and pub and restaurant visits.

November's monthly growth was driven largely by the dominant services sector, representing almost 80 percent of the economy, with growth broadly based, and driven by retail, wholesale, and auto trading, boosted by strong pre-Christmas retail sales.

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