Friday, February 26, 2010
GDP up 0.3%, Nationwide down 1%
Posted by David Smith at 01:30 PM
Category: Thoughts and responses

After Thursday's weak business investment figures, there was a certain amount of trepidation about the revised fourth quarter GDP figures, most of it misplaced. In the event the Office for National Statistics came through with an upward revision from 0.1% to 0.3%, in line with expectations ahead of the initial release in January. The initial release was too gloomy on both services and manufacturing. The former was glaringly clear at the time.

The ONS also revised earlier data lower, however, so the peak-to-trough decline in GDP is now put at 6.2%, from 6%, making it a record decline on current data. The fourth quarter of 2008 and the first quarter of 2009, when GDP fell by a combined 4.4%, were grim indeed. Some of these figures will be revised and look too weak, particularly the third quarter of 2009 when compared with other evidence. But they won't remove the sense of an economy that was falling off a cliff. More here.

Meanwhile, figures from the Nationwide building society, which showed a 1% house-price fall for February, contrasted with Land Registry data which showed a 2.1% January rise. The Nationwide's numbers are at the start of the buying chain so, while probably weather-affected, are more timely. It is too soon, however, to say they mark the start of a new downward trend. Land Registry here and Nationwide here.