Manufacturing boosts GDP figure for final quarter of 2016

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Britain's economy picked up speed in the final three months of last year, boosted by a rise in manufacturing output.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said gross domestic product (GDP) expanded by 0.7% in the fourth quarter, according to its second estimate of UK growth,.

That is up 0.1% from initial estimates of 0.6%. Economists had been expecting no revision.

The increase was driven by a 1.2% rise in manufacturing output, and supported by a 0.8% increase in the service industry, marking its 16th consecutive quarter of growth.

However, GDP for all of 2016 has been revised down by 0.2% to 1.8%, marking a slight slowdown from 2.2% in 2015.

It means the UK has lost its title as the fastest growing economy among the G7, which includes countries like Germany, the US, Canada and Japan. 

The pound lost ground following the news, to trade 0.2% lower against the US dollar at 1.244.

Versus the euro, sterling was flat at 1.184. 

ONS head of GDP Darren Morgan said: "The economy grew slightly more in the last three months of 2016 than previously thought, mainly due to a stronger performance from manufacturing.

"Overall, the dominant services sector continued to grow steadily, due in part to continued growth in consumer spending, although retail showed some signs of weakness in the last couple of months of 2016, which has continued into January 2017."