Some (very slight) Christmas good news: Britain's economy is in better shape than thought; the Office for National Statistics claims GDP growth between July and September 2011 grew by 0.6% compared with the same quarter in 2010. That compares with the ONS previous estimate of 0.5%. Slight, huh? Seasonal cheer is in short supply currently...
"GDP growth in recent quarters continues to point towards a rather fragile economic picture" for Britain, the ONS said. It then went on: "During the nine quarters of the recovery, the economy has gained just over half of the output lost during the five quarters of contraction."
This very modest third quarter boost came from, the ONS says, from a rise in the construction and services sector. Government spending growth slipped to 0.2% from 0.9% due to widespread cuts; there was little change for general household spending.
Unfortunately though the second quarter 2011 was revised down, from 0.1% growth to zero. That means growth for the year up to September remained unchanged at 0.5%. The UK trade deficit was up also from £4bn to £5.4bn in the third quarter - the highest since records commenced in the mid 1990s.
Lastly, the UK saving ratio pushed up 6.6% in the third quarter. The highest for some time. Clearly many of us trying to remain, in City parlance 'liquid', as far as possible. Or more likely, paying down debt.