Economic growth revised down for 2015 second and third quarters

GDP revised down. Containers stored at a UK Port. Picture Mike Page.

GDP revised down. Containers stored at a UK Port. Picture Mike Page. - Credit: Archant

The UK economy grew less than previously thought for much of 2015 as official figures revealed that growth has been revised down for the second and third quarters.

The latest revisions from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed that growth was 0.4% in the three months to the end of September, down from the initial estimate of 0.5%.

Growth was also revised down to 0.5% for the quarter to the end of June, from the 0.7% previously recorded.

The ONS data shows that growth was revised down in the third quarter due to a weaker performance from the dominant services sector.

Growth on an annual basis was also revised down in the third quarter, to 2.1% from the 2.3% previous reading.

The revisions have come as an unexpected blow to the UK economy, with most economists forecasting growth readings to remain unchanged.

Britain's economy has now expanded for 11 quarters in a row, but the latest revisions mean expansion in 2015 has been muted, with the year starting with a disappointing slowdown to 0.4% in the first quarter, edging only slightly higher to 0.5% in the second quarter and then dropping back again to 0.4% in the third.

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It means there is little pressure on the Bank of England to raise interest rates from the rock-bottom low of 0.5%, despite its US counterpart raising rates in America last week for the first time in nearly a decade.

But the Bank has previously said it expects growth to edge higher to 0.6% in the final three months of 2015.