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Small boost expected for GDP update
Britain's economic upturn will be underlined when updated growth figures are published amid speculation that they may show an even better performance than previously thought.
According to initial estimates by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), gross domestic product (GDP) improved by 0.6% in the second quarter, and the figure is widely expected to remain the same when revised data is published.
But Chancellor George Osborne could have a pleasant surprise in store if the figure is upgraded to 0.7%.
Economists at Investec say initial figures for construction have been adjusted higher while survey data on services suggests initial ONS readings from that sector may also have been too cautious.
"On balance, we expect a small upward revision to GDP to 0.7%," they said.
If proved to be the case, it will come as welcome news for the Chancellor at the end of a week when the Treasury has been buffeted by figures showing that rising public spending left the Government with a rare deficit for July.
The borrowing figures were a setback amid a succession of more positive indicators that have injected a feel-good factor into sentiment about the economy.
While UK GDP remains 3.3% off its pre-recession peak, confidence has been boosted by signs such as an improving housing market - buoyed by the Government's Help to Buy initiative - surging car sales and a buoyant July for high street retailers.
Even the beleaguered manufacturing sector looks to be emerging from the doldrums, with a CBI survey this week finding that output growth among firms has increased to its fastest pace in two years. It came shortly after the business organisation lifted its outlook for economic growth this year from 1% to 1.2%.
Vicky Redwood, of Capital Economics, said that while the 0.6% growth figure should remain broadly unchanged, the figures may indicate that growth remains heavily dependent on the consumer sector.