The reaction inside the Treasury to the original Q4 GDP figures a few weeks ago was, I’m told, one of disbelief at first.
It would be interesting therefore to be a fly on the wall inside George Osborne’s ministry this morning as that number – a fall of 0.5 per cent – was downgraded by the ONS. The new figure is a 0.6 per cent drop.
As the ONS says:
Gross domestic product contracted by 0.6 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2010, revised down from the previously estimated fall of 0.5 per cent. GDP in the fourth quarter of 2010 is now 1.5 per cent higher than the fourth quarter of 2009.
Output of the production industries was revised down from 0.9 per cent to 0.7 per cent growth in the latest quarter. Within production, manufacturing output increased by 1.1 per cent and utilities output grew by 4.6 per cent whilst mining and quarrying output fell by 4.5 per cent.
Construction output fell by 2.5 per cent, revised up from a fall of 3.3 per cent in the previous estimate.
Output in the service industries was revised down to a fall of 0.7 per cent in the latest quarter from a fall of 0.5 per cent reported in the preliminary estimate. The decline this quarter was driven by a fall in business services of 1.1 per cent, together with a fall of 1.4 per cent in transport, storage and communications services.
Household expenditure fell 0.1 per cent following a rise of 0.1 per cent in the third quarter of 2010.
Government final consumption expenditure rose by 0.7 per cent and is now 1.2 per cent higher than the fourth quarter of 2009.