Britain’s economy expanded 5.5pc between April and June on a quarterly basis as household spending jumped amid easing coronavirus restrictions, according to official data.
The Office for National Statistics revised up a previous growth estimate of 4.8pc for the second quarter compared to the first three months of the year.
The growth left GDP 3.3pc below its pre-pandemic level, after its 19.8pc plunge when lockdown struck in March 2020.
Household spending contributed four percentage points to the 5.5pc jump compared to consumption levels between January and March. Wholesale and retail trade, accommodation and hospitality also boosted growth, as did education, health and social work spending.
The jump in household spending was an early sign of Britons unleashing their stockpiled lockdown savings, with the household saving ratio falling from 18.4pc in the first quarter to 11.7pc in the second.
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What happened overnight
Asian markets mostly rose on Thursday after the previous day’s retreat, though investors continue to fret that surging inflation will lead to interest rate hikes, while the debt stand-off in Washington and prospect of a historic US default was also fraying nerves.
The Dow and S&P 500 provided a positive lead, though the unconvincing end to the trading day on Wall Street indicated lingering uncertainty on trading floors.
While expected for most of the year, the prospect that the Federal Reserve and other major central banks will soon begin to remove the ultra-loose monetary policies they put in place at the start of the pandemic has dampened sentiment in recent weeks.
In early Asian trade, Shanghai, Sydney, Seoul, Singapore, Wellington, Taipei, Manila and Jakarta all rose, but Hong Kong slipped after a three-day gain and Tokyo retreated after a recent rally to three-decade highs.
Coming up today
Corporate: Renishaw (Full-year results)
Economics: GDP (UK, US); manufacturing and services PMI (China); consumer price index (EU); unemployment rate (US, EU)