The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has estimated that the economy grew by 1.9% last year.
In the fourth quarter of the year GDP rose by 0.7%, the ONS stated. This was underpinned by a 0.5% increase in output from the agricultural sector, 0.7% from production, and 0.8% from services. However, output decreased by 0.3% in construction.
The latest readings reveal that the economy is now 1.3% below its peak in the first quarter of 2008; from peak to trough in 2009, the economy shrank by 7.2%.
‘We have now seen four successive quarters of significant growth and the economy does seem to be improving more consistently. Today's estimate suggests over four fifths of the fall in GDP during the recession has been recovered, although it still remains 1.3 per cent below the pre-recession peak,’ commented Joe Grice, chief economic adviser at the ONS.
Nancy Curtin, chief investment officer at Close Brothers Asset Management, argued that the latest reading shows that the economic recovery 'is not a flash in the pan'.
She said: 'We are seeing renewed consumer spending, which should trigger a revival in investment spend - which is still a long way from where it needs to be. And combined with sustained low rates on the horizon as Carney moves away from using unemployment as the sole benchmark for tightening monetary policy, we are seeing a benign growth and liquidity outlook for investors.'
For Curtin, the news is most positive for consumer discretionary and industrial companies. 'We are laser focused on investing in those companies which are most leveraged to the pick-up in UK and global growth and best able to deliver this to the bottom line for us as investors,' she remarked.