UK economy gathers speed despite Brexit woes | Business| Economy and finance news from a German perspective | DW | 10.08.2018
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UK economy gathers speed despite Brexit woes

Britain's economy picked up speed in the second quarter despite mounting concerns over a disorderly exit from the European Union. Growth was helped partly by sunny weather and the FIFA Football World Cup.

Britain's gross domestic product (GDP) expanded by 0.4 percent in the three months to the end of June, marking an acceleration from 0.2 percent of growth in the first quarter of 2018.

The UK's Office for National Statistics (ONS) said in a statement Friday that retail sales and construction contributed most to the expansion thanks to the warm weather in the period.

Read more: Brighter forecast for UK economy thanks to global growth and Brexit progress

In addition, British football fans sent the cash tills ringing as the England team progressed to the semi-finals at the FIFA Football World Cup tournament held in Russia.

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"The pick-up in quarter two reflects, to some extent, consumers taking advantage of the warm weather and World Cup celebrations," the ONS said.

The statisticians, however, also sounded a cautious note amid shaky trade talks between London and Brussels in preparation of the UK's exit from the EU. "Abstracting from these quarterly movements, the underlying trend in real GDP is one of slowing growth," they warned.

Read more: UK trade minister Liam Fox says EU pushing Britain to no-deal Brexit

Britain is scheduled to leave the European Union in March 2019, following the shock Brexit referendum that was held two years ago.

Friday's news came one week after the Bank of England raised British interest rates by a quarter-point to 0.75 percent to help tame rising inflation and a weakening pound.

The bank also maintained its 2018 economic outlook, describing a slowdown in the first quarter as "temporary" with momentum set to recover further despite widespread trade-linked worries over the global economy.

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uhe/tr (Reuters, AFP, dpa)

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