Pound Rises Ahead Of UK GDP Data

On an annual basis, GDP grew by 1.7% in the second quarter of 2017, compared with the same period previous year.

Despite the government's efforts to "rebalance the economy", the preliminary estimate shows that the services sector generated nearly all of the growth recorded. Within production, manufacturing contracted 0.5% due to a large fall in auto production.

Earlier this week the International Monetary Fund (IMF) slashed its growth forecast for the United Kingdom, saying that it now expects the country's economy to grow by 1.7 per cent this year compared to a previous forecast of 2 per cent.

The entirely unsurprising GDP quarter two result should likely set the tone for the Bank of England (it originally estimated 0.4% growth for Q2).

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The likelihood of the Bank's Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) hiking interest rates from record lows of 0.25% shifted down a gear when the latest inflation figures came in at 2.6% for June, down from a near four-year high of 2.9% in May. Today's data suggests possibility that the central bank will revise down its forecasts for the economy next week from the 1.9 percent growth it has now penciled-in.

The GDP figures follow reports of a drop in annual inflation to 2.6 percent in June from 2.9 percent in May, but which still outpaced wage growth and "will likely head back towards 3 percent later this year", according to a report from RBS.

Looking at the forex markets, sterling despite showing relative resilience against the greenback in recent weeks, fell slightly from $1.3025 prior the data release to a low of $1.2998.

Regarding GDP per capita, which is an important measure of standard of living, it increased by 0.1% quarter-on- quarter and by 1% year- on- year. The underlying trend is for consumer spending growth to moderate as real incomes are squeezed by higher inflation.

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Combine this with the fact that real wages are set to continue to fall this year, it is clear that 2017 will not go down as a good year for the United Kingdom economy.

Two days ago the International Monetary Fund downgraded its forecast for the United Kingdom economy, calling its performance "tepid" however in early morning trading, the pound crept up against the dollar and euro, indicating a predicted growth in GDP.

"The confirmation of the lackluster performance of the economy so far this year surely also diminishes the chance of an interest rate hike any time soon, especially as growth prospects for coming months have become increasingly skewed to the downside", said Chris Williamson, Chief Business Economist, IHS Markit.

The new figure is still much better than the pre-referendum International Monetary Fund prediction of a recession if voters backed Brexit.

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