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MNI DATA IMPACT: UK Stagnated Ahead of Emergency BOE Cut>

By Laurie Laird and Irene Prihoda
     LONDON (MNI) - The UK economy flatlined in January, suggesting that 
growth faltered ahead of an expected slowdown in response to the spread 
of coronavirus. 
     The following are the key points from the January GDP data 
published Wednesday by the Office for National Statistics. 
     - GDP stagnated at the start of the year, recording no change in 
January on a monthly or rolling three-month basis. The outturn falls 
short of expectations on both measures and follows a 0.3% monthly gain 
in December. 
     - On a rolling three-month basis, GDP has failed to grow since 
     - The data came just hours after the Bank of England announced a 
half-point cut in the base rate to 0.25%. However, the Bank was not 
briefed on the weak January data ahead of Tuesday's emergency Monetary 
Policy Committee meeting, according to a National Statistics official. 
     - The dominant service sector slowed to a crawl in January, rising 
by 0.1% on the month and recording no change on a rolling three-month 
basis. Wholesale and retail trade, which comprises just over 10% of GDP, 
fell 0.7% in the three months to January, the biggest fall since the 
first quarter of 2010. 
     - Manufacturing eked out a 0.2% gain between December and January, 
but automobile output slipped by 0.4% on the month and by 5.1% over the 
three months to January. 
     - The headline trade surplus narrowed slightly to GBP4.212 billion 
from GBP6.279 billion. Stripping volatile precious metals, the surplus 
declined to GBP176 million from GBP504 million.   
     - Adjusted for prices, the Q4 total surplus was revised down by 
GBP500 million to GBP6.6 billion, according to a National Statistics 
official. However, the official declined to comment on whether that 
revision will decrease trade's 1.56 percentage point boost to the first 
calculation of Q4 GDP.      
-London bureau: 44 (0) 203 865 3812; email: 

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