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UK GDP Expands On Services Rebound

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Soothing fears of recession ahead of Brexit, the UK economy expanded in July, largely driven by a rebound in services, figures from the Office for National Statistics revealed Monday.

Gross domestic product expanded 0.3 percent in July after staying flat in June. Economists had forecast marginal growth of 0.1 percent.

The index of production grew only 0.1 percent. Services and manufacturing rose 0.3 percent each in July. Construction recovered in July, rising 0.5 percent after contracting 0.7 percent.

July's surprisingly strong rise in GDP suggests that it has not fallen into a recession, Paul Dales, an economist at Capital Economics, said. The economist expects underlying pace of growth around 0.2 percent.

Whether that pace of growth rises or falls over the coming quarters almost entirely depends on what the timing and result of the looming general election means for Brexit, the economist noted.

While the largest part of the economy, services sector, returned to growth in the month of July, the underlying picture shows services growth weakening through 2019, ONS Head of GDP Rob Kent-Smith said.

GDP was flat in the three months to July from the previous three months, following a contraction of 0.2 percent in the second quarter.

Another report from ONS showed that the visible trade deficit widened to GBP 9.14 billion from GBP 8.9 billion in June. Trade in services showed a surplus of GBP 8.9 billion compared to a GBP 8.78 billion surplus a month ago.

The total trade balance showed a shortfall of GBP 219 million compared to a deficit of GBP 132 million in June.

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