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United Kingdom GDP

United Kingdom GDP

Economic Growth in United Kingdom

The United Kingdom's GDP growth from 2013 to 2022 was impacted by Brexit uncertainties and the COVID-19 pandemic. Early in the decade, the economy experienced steady, though moderate, growth. The Brexit referendum in 2016 introduced prolonged economic uncertainty, affecting investment and growth. The pandemic caused a historic contraction in 2020, but a strong recovery followed in 2021-2022, albeit with ongoing challenges from Brexit-related trade disruptions and soft global economic conditions.

The United Kingdom recorded an average real GDP growth rate of 1.7% in the decade to 2022. This is slightly below the 1.8% average for major economies. In 2022, real GDP growth was 4.3%. For more GDP information, visit our dedicated page.

United Kingdom GDP Chart

Note: This chart displays Economic Growth (GDP, annual variation in %) for United Kingdom from 2014 to 2023.
Source: UK Office for National Statistics.

United Kingdom GDP Data

2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Economic Growth (GDP, ann. var. %) 1.4 1.6 -10.4 8.7 4.3
GDP (USD bn) 2,870 2,850 2,699 3,141 3,087
GDP (GBP bn) 2,152 2,234 2,104 2,284 2,506
Economic Growth (Nominal GDP, ann. var. %) 3.4 3.8 -5.8 8.5 9.7

The economy contracts in Q4

GDP fell 0.3% on a seasonally adjusted quarter-on-quarter basis in Q4 (Q3: -0.1% s.a. qoq), undershooting market expectations of -0.1% and marking the weakest outturn since Q1 2021. On an annual basis, the economy fell 0.2%, compared to the previous period's 0.2% growth. Due to the disappointing Q4 data, the economy recorded just 0.1% annual growth over 2023 as a whole, the second weakest reading in the G7.

Private consumption fell 0.1% s.a. qoq in Q4, government consumption was down 0.3% and exports fell 2.9%: These three components were responsible for the overall decline in GDP. Weak consumer sentiment and high interest rates likely weighed on private spending, while industrial action in the health sector could have dampened government spending, and exports were weighed down by lower services exports. In contrast, fixed investment rose 1.4% s.a. qoq in Q4, aided by higher business investment.

Our Consensus is for the economy to record tepid growth in Q1 2024, though activity will continue to be constrained by high interest rates.

ING’s James Smith cautioned that the economic panorama is not as poor as Q4 GDP make it seem: “The fourth-quarter fall seems to largely boil down to a couple of main drivers, one of which was the sharp fall in retail sales at the end of last year. We think will be reversed in the first couple of months of 2024 and may reflect changing seasonal patterns in spending that aren't fully adjusted for in the data. The fourth quarter was also hugely volatile for manufacturers, with an unusually sharp fall back in October. That was fully reversed by December, but overall across the fourth quarter, output was down. The flip side of that is that even if manufacturing stays flat in the first quarter, flattering base effects mean it’ll most likely positively contribute to GDP this quarter.” Berenberg’s Kallum Pickering concurred: “Although the UK suffered a technical recession in H2 according to the narrow definition of two quarters or more of declining real GDP, the broader economic picture is not consistent with a typical recession. [...] Net trade subtracted 0.6ppt from the quarterly change in GDP. As trade numbers are among the most erratic data in the GDP statistics, we would not be surprised if the Q4 export plunge is reversed in Q1.”

Consensus Forecasts and Projections for the next ten years

How should you choose a forecaster if some are too optimistic while others are too pessimistic? FocusEconomics collects British GDP projections for the next ten years from a panel of 58 analysts at the leading national, regional and global forecast institutions. These projections are then validated by our in-house team of economists and data analysts and averaged to provide one Consensus Forecast you can rely on for each indicator. By averaging all forecasts, upside and downside forecasting errors tend to cancel each other out, leading to the most reliable GDP forecast available for British GDP.

Download one of our sample reports to visualize what a Consensus Forecast is and see our British GDP projections.

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