Unexpectedly, the UK economy expanded by 0.1% in November as shoppers flocked to stores in preparation for Christmas and bars and pubs benefited from the men’s World Cup.
City economists claimed that despite the cost of living crisis, strapped consumers have shown to be more resilient than predicted, increasing the government’s prospects of avoiding a protracted recession.
Business organizations cautioned, however, that the economy would likely suffer in the months to come as increased mortgage rates and the removal of state assistance for energy costs started to have a greater impact on disposable earnings.
According to the Office for National Statistics, a decline in the manufacturing sector also hindered the economy’s growth, resulting in a 0.3% contraction over the three months leading up to November.
The British Chambers of Commerce deemed it notable that a considerable drop in sales compared to pre-pandemic levels had not been offset by the increase to consumer-facing industries, including retail, wholesale, and hospitality.
“Despite the fact that this time of year is often among the busiest for the retail sector, the numbers show additional evidence that UK economic development is moving in the wrong direction.
“While GDP increased by 0.1% from month to month, this is an erratic measure. The three-month average, which is now at -0.3%, provides a clearer indication of the economic situation, the report added.
According to the ONS, income in company sectors that sell directly to consumers has decreased by 8.5% since February 2020, and unlike other G7 nations, the overall economy is still smaller than it was three years ago.
Cost of living pressures are anticipated to worsen this year as a result of tax increases and the elimination of government subsidies.
The average bill would rise from £2,500 to £3,000 as a result of the ministers’ impending hike in unit gas and electricity costs for consumers starting in April. Meanwhile, the Bank of England’s increases in interest rates will result in an average yearly payment increase of £3,000 for millions of mortgage holders this year.
According to the Bank of England, the UK is likely in for a protracted recession, which is defined as two consecutive quarters of contraction. The third quarter of the economy, which covered July through September, saw a 0.3% decline; data for the fourth quarter, which covered October through December, will be released next month, indicating whether or not the economy entered a recession during that time.
It “hangs in the balance” whether the economy contracted in the second half of 2022, according to Pantheon Macroeconomics’ chief UK economist Samuel Tombs, but a recession was almost certain to occur in the first half of 2023.
The first and second quarters of this year’s GDP will likely experience a significant decline, we continue to predict.
James Smith, a senior economist at ING, talked down the possibility that the UK will experience a worse recession than other developed countries.
In terms of scale, he stated, “We’re aiming for a peak-to-trough reduction in GDP of a little bit more than 1.5%, which would match closest with the early 1990s recession.”
We aren’t confident that the UK will significantly deviate from the rest of Europe in terms of the hit to GDP this year, even if it likely ranks in the bottom half of the pack, despite the UK’s numerous problems, particularly in the labor market.
Analysts have cautioned that certain trends in the data were challenging to assess as a result of a number of circumstances that altered the typical pattern.
The economy recovered from a dismal September, which was partly brought on by the closure of numerous firms for the Queen’s burial, in October, when it experienced 0.5% growth. November’s 0.1% increase marked a downturn from that. According to a Reuters poll of City analysts, the economy would contract by 0.2% in November.
As a means of easing the problem in the cost of living and reviving the economy, Jeremy Hunt stated that bringing down inflation was his top goal.
The chancellor declared, “We have a clear plan to half inflation this year – an insidious hidden tax that has increased interest rates and mortgage costs, slowing economy here and around the world.”