LONDON?U.K. business investment rose in the three months following the June vote to leave the European Union, official data showed Friday, signaling that uncertainty surrounding Britain's future relationship with the European bloc didn't weigh heavily on business sentiment.
Business investment increased by 0.9% in the July-September period compared with the preceding quarter, the Office for National Statistics said, and stood at £ 44.2 billion ($55 billion), driven by spending on buildings, machinery and equipment. However, compared with the same period last year, it fell by 1.6%.
The figures offer the first official glimpse into how the U.K.'s decision to end its decadeslong EU membership affected British businesses' investment plans. Post-referendum uncertainty has raised fears that companies will stop investing or could shift their operations to continental Europe if Britain doesn't strike a favorable deal on its future ties to the bloc.
"Investment by businesses held up well in the immediate aftermath of the EU referendum, though it's likely most of those investment decision were taken before the polling day," Darren Morgan, the ONS's head of GDP said.
The ONS also confirmed its initial estimates of gross domestic product growth for the three-month period. The U.K. economy grew by 0.5% on the quarter, government statisticians said, and by 2.3% on the year, an annualized growth of 2.0%.
The economic expansion, which was broadly in line with historic trends, was driven by growing trade and consumer spending and strong performance of the U.K.'s powerhouse service sector, which appears to have been unfazed by Briton's decision to exit from the EU, the ONS said.
Write to Wiktor Szary at Wiktor.Szary@wsj.com andJason Douglas at email@example.com
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
November 25, 2016 05:25 ET (10:25 GMT)
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