November 11, 2021: Britain's economy grew 1.3 percent in the third quarter, a far slower pace than the previous three months, as global supply constraints hit businesses hard, official data showed Thursday.
Gross domestic product growth for the July-September period compared with output of 5.5 percent in the second quarter, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said in a statement.
“As the world reopens we know that there are still challenges to overcome,” finance minister Rishi Sunak said in response.
Despite the sharp growth slowdown in the third quarter, the chancellor of the exchequer added that the UK was “forecast to have the fastest growth in the G7 this year”.
The ONS added that the UK economy was still 2.1 percent below its level before the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic at the end of 2019.
The economy contracted 0.2 percent in July before rebounding in August and September, it said.
ONS chief economist Grant Fitzner said “business investment remained well down on pre-pandemic levels” in the third quarter.
He added that the trade deficit widened as exports of goods to countries outside the European Union fell and imports, particularly of fuel, increased.
As countries reopen from pandemic lockdowns, companies are struggling to meet demand for goods and services, sending inflation soaring.
“A combination of rising Covid cases and shortages of raw materials, components and labour came together to present significant headwinds to growth,” Alpesh Paleja, lead economist at the CBI, Britain's main business lobby group, said following Thursday's data.
“It's encouraging that the economy maintained some momentum in September but there's no denying that this rounded off a tough quarter for businesses, with supply constraints biting hard,” he added.