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UK businesses report stronger-than-average growth

British businesses gained a small amount of momentum and grew at an above-average pace in the three months to the end of October, despite widespread disruption to supply chains, the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) said on Sunday.

The CBI’s monthly growth indicator – which pulls together surveys of output from manufacturers, retailers and other services companies – rose slightly to +29 from +27 in September, after hitting its highest since 2014 in August at +34.

“Given the headwinds business has faced, achieving above average growth for the past six months shows real resilience in the UK economy,” CBI lead economist Alpesh Paleja said.

Many British petrol stations ran dry at the start of October, the most visible example of bottlenecks in the economy as it emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic and faces shortages of workers such as tanker drivers and rising energy prices.

Britain’s Office for Budget Responsibility upgraded its growth forecast last week to predict an expansion of 6.5% this year and 6.0% in 2022, as the economy recovers from its historic slump of nearly 10% in 2020.

Many investors expect the Bank of England to raise interest rates this week for the first time since the start of the pandemic, although some economists expect it to hold fire until there is clearer news on the health of the job market.

Reporting by David Milliken Editing by Mark Potter

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