PwC comments on fourth-quarter GDP data

Feb 11, 2020

PwC chief economist John Hawksworth comments on today's GDP data:

"December saw a stronger than expected 0.3% bounce in GDP, recovering the ground lost in November. In the fourth quarter as a whole, this was enough to keep output flat, although the underlying trend was still for a loss of momentum in the autumn after a stronger performance in the summer. We would expect a revival in growth in the first quarter of 2020 based on improved business and consumer confidence and a stronger housing market.

For 2019 as a whole, GDP growth is estimated at 1.4% - up slightly from 1.3% in 2018 but still somewhat below trend. However, this disguises considerable volatility from quarter to quarter due to Brexit-related timing effects, with relatively strong growth in the first and third quarters, but negative or flat growth in the second and fourth quarters.

Helped by the somewhat stronger than expected growth in December, we would expect GDP growth to rise to around 0.3-0.4% in the first quarter of 2020. 

UK growth could pick up further later in the year if the global economy stabilises and progress is made on a trade deal with the EU, while the Budget provides a further boost to the economy through increased public investment. But there are still many uncertainties out there relating to Brexit, the coronavirus and global trade, so we would expect the Bank of England to keep their options open on interest rates until a clearer picture emerges."

About PwC

At PwC, our purpose is to build trust in society and solve important problems. We’re a network of firms in 158 countries with over 250,000 people who are committed to delivering quality in assurance, advisory and tax services. Find out more and tell us what matters to you by visiting us at www.pwc.com.

PwC refers to the PwC network and/or one or more of its member firms, each of which is a separate legal entity. Please see www.pwc.com/structure for further details.

© 2019 PwC. All rights reserved

Contact us

Rebecca Lloyd

Manager, Corporate Affairs, PwC United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)7483 329628

Follow us