Commenting on the publication today of the Office for National Statistics’ First Estimate of GDP for Q2 2017, Christian Spence, Head of Research & Policy at Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce, said:

“This first estimate of economic activity for Q2 2017 of 0.3% on the previous quarter is broadly in line with our expectations, though slightly lower than our current forecasts. The detail shows that growth is still being driven by the consumer side of the services sector with distribution, hotels and restaurants providing the impetus in the economy now, as in the previous few years. Retail trade remains strong, though the growing evidence that household incomes are being eroded by higher inflation increases the downside risks for the coming quarters. Weakness in travel agency activities is likely to be related to the weakness of Sterling causing people to reconsider holidays abroad though this may further support consumer spending in the UK in the short term.

“Both manufacturing (-0.5%) and construction (-0.9%) output look weak and contradict our most recent Quarterly Economic Survey data which indicates moderate growth in these sectors over the second quarter, and we expect that these estimates, particularly for construction, will be revised up over the coming months.

“Our view for the future growth of the UK economy remains slightly muted by historic comparison, with a combination of the uncertainty over Brexit negotiations, increased inflation caused by the depreciation of Sterling and an expected softening of both consumer spending and business investment over the coming year. Government can support confidence in the near term by being clearer over its desired outcome of the Brexit negotiations (and we applaud the softening of its stance over the past week) and by greater commitments to investment, particularly in infrastructure, as well as accelerating its plans for its new industrial strategy.”

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About Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce

Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce is the largest Chamber of Commerce in the UK, providing business support to approximately 4,500 members who collectively employ 446,000 people, around one-third of Greater Manchester’s workforce.

Recognised as a leader in its field, Greater Manchester Chamber’s reputation in government circles has grown locally and nationally. At the heart of the area of greatest economic intensity outside London and the South East, the Chamber is the primary body for business support, policy, representation and networking.
The Chamber is an independent, not-for-profit private company and its aim is to support businesses and help create the best climate for the region to prosper. This is achieved by ensuring that those taking decisions on key issues such as transport, taxation and business regulation hear the voice of our members. The representation of our members’ views is central to the work of the policy team at the Chamber; these views are gathered in a range of ways including our local councils, policy committees, sector councils, the main Chamber council, focus groups, meetings with politicians and consultations.

The Chamber also offers a range of networking forums across Greater Manchester, free as part of membership, plus a variety of other events and services designed to benefit specific sectors or individuals and help businesses to grow.