LONDON (dpa-AFX) - Ahead of the emergence of the Omicron variant, the UK economy expanded at a faster pace in November to reach its pre-pandemic level for the first time, data from the Office for National Statistics showed on Friday.
Gross domestic product grew 0.9 percent month-on-month in November, faster than the revised 0.2 percent expansion registered in October and the economists' forecast of 0.4 percent.
GDP was estimated to be above its pre-coronavirus pandemic level for the first time, by 0.7 percent.
In November, there was an increase in output in all sectors, with services output the main driver of GDP growth. Services output grew 0.7 percent.
Production output increased 1.0 percent from the last month. This followed two consecutive months of negative growth, with a fall of 0.5 percent in October and a decrease of 0.7 percent in September.
Manufacturing was the largest contributor to production growth in November, increasing by 1.1 percent, much faster than the expected increase of 0.2 percent. At the same time, construction output grew 3.5 percent, offsetting a fall of 1.7 percent in October.
In three month to November, GDP advanced 1.1 percent, reflecting the strong performance of the services sector. GDP was forecast to grow 0.8 percent.
The recent signs that the Omicron wave is starting to subside suggests that GDP will probably rebound in February and March, Paul Dales, an economist at Capital Economics, said. But growth will then be restrained by the hit from higher taxes and utility prices from April 1.
In a separate communiqué, the ONS said the visible trade deficit declined to GBP 11.34 billion in November from GBP 11.81 billion in October. In November, exports grew 8.5 percent and imports climbed 4.9 percent.
The surplus on services trade totaled GBP 11.96 billion, largely unchanged from the previous month. Consequently, the total trade surplus increased moderately to GBP 626 million from GBP 151 million a month ago.
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