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In general terms for 1H15, the UK economy has continued its positive trajectory with 2Q15 GDP growth figures of 0.7% following a surprisingly weak 1Q15 output of 0.4%. This suggests that the weak output numbers for the first quarter were an anomaly rather than the start of a slowdown in economic growth. The economy has now grown for 10 consecutive quarters, and with the stronger output in 2Q15, expectations for annual growth in 2015 are unchanged from the start of the year, at a robust 2.6%.
Beneath the headline numbers, however, the economy has re-emerged as "two-speed", with the services sector surging ahead, particularly in those areas closely related to the buoyant consumer sector. The tightening labour market has started to exert upward pressure on nominal wages, which combined with an inflation rate of around 0%, has resulted in annual real disposable incomes growing at their fastest pace since 2001. Consumer confidence peaked in mid-2014 and has remained around this record high level, translating into annual retail sales growth of 4.3% in 2Q15, with further strong growth forecast for the remainder of the year.
Source : UBS AG