Growth estimate stays firm at -0.3 per cent

Consumption increased by 0.4%.

The ONS reports that its final estimate of GDP growth for the fourth quarter of 2012 holds steady at -0.3 per cent:

  • UK gross domestic product (GDP) in volume terms was estimated to have decreased by 0.3% between the third and fourth quarter of 2012, unrevised from the previous publication. In current prices GDP was also estimated to have decreased by 0.3% for the same period.

  • Household final consumption expenditure increased by 0.4% in volume terms in the latest quarter revised up from the 0.2% increase previously estimated.s

  • Among the main contributors to the decrease in GDP in the latest quarter were gross fixed capital formation which fell by 0.2% in volume terms and the £6.0 billion net trade deficit, which follows a £5.3 billion net trade deficit in the previous quarter.

The details of the release don't elaborate much more. Services output was flat, and industrial production fell by 2.1 per cent, the biggest since Q1 2009. Construction grew, however, by 0.8 per cent. We'll find out more next month, when the first estimates of growth for Q1 2013 come out.

Alex Hern is a technology reporter for the Guardian. He was formerly staff writer at the New Statesman. You should follow Alex on Twitter.

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Cabinet audit: what does the appointment of Liam Fox as International Trade Secretary mean for policy?

The political and policy-based implications of the new Secretary of State for International Trade.

Only Nixon, it is said, could have gone to China. Only a politician with the impeccable Commie-bashing credentials of the 37th President had the political capital necessary to strike a deal with the People’s Republic of China.

Theresa May’s great hope is that only Liam Fox, the newly-installed Secretary of State for International Trade, has the Euro-bashing credentials to break the news to the Brexiteers that a deal between a post-Leave United Kingdom and China might be somewhat harder to negotiate than Vote Leave suggested.

The biggest item on the agenda: striking a deal that allows Britain to stay in the single market. Elsewhere, Fox should use his political capital with the Conservative right to wait longer to sign deals than a Remainer would have to, to avoid the United Kingdom being caught in a series of bad deals. 

Stephen Bush is special correspondent at the New Statesman. He usually writes about politics.