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Statistical bulletin: Quarterly National Accounts, Q1 2012 This product is designated as National Statistics

Released: 28 June 2012 Download PDF

Headline figures

  • UK gross domestic product (GDP) in volume terms decreased by 0.3 per cent in the first quarter of 2012, unrevised from the previously estimated 0.3 per cent decline.
  • Output of the production industries fell by 0.5 per cent, within which manufacturing output fell by 0.3 per cent.
  • Output of the service industries rose by 0.2 per cent, while output of the construction industry fell by 4.9 per cent.
  • Household final consumption expenditure decreased by 0.1 per cent in volume terms in the latest quarter.
  • In current price terms, compensation of employees rose by 1.1 per cent in the first quarter of 2012.

Summary

This bulletin contains information on the third estimate of GDP for 2012 quarter one. It includes information along with revisions to and more detail on the output, income and expenditure approaches to GDP. Also included are data on the institutional sector accounts, including the household saving ratio and disposable income.
 
The estimates in this statistical bulletin are consistent with the dataset to be published in this year's Blue Book, as described in the revisions section. The base year and reference year for chained volume estimates have both moved on from 2008 to 2009. All time periods are open for revision in this release.

Key data

Q1 2012

Seasonally adjusted
  Household saving ratio (per cent) Real household disposable income 1(per cent)    Gross domestic product
Current market prices (2009=100) Chained volume measure (2009=100) Chained volume measure 1 (per cent)
2010 Q1 6.9 -0.4 103.1 101.1 0.6
2010 Q2 5.9 -0.3 104.2 101.8 0.7
2010 Q3 7.2 0.9 105.3 102.4 0.6
2010 Q4 6.2 -0.8 105.9 102.0 -0.4
2011 Q1 5.0 -1.7 107.4 102.4 0.5
2011 Q2 7.0 1.5 107.7 102.3 -0.1
2011 Q3 7.6 0.2 108.6 102.9 0.6
2011 Q4 6.9 -0.9 108.9 102.6 -0.4
2012 Q1 6.4 -0.9 109.4 102.2 -0.3

Table source: Office for National Statistics

Table notes:

  1. Percentage change on previous quarter 

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Output indices, CVM SA

Presents output indices CVM SA, Q1 2012
Source: Office for National Statistics

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GDP analysed by output categories, chained volume measures, Tables B1 and B2

Annex A (32.5 Kb Excel sheet) contains growth rates back to 2010 Q1.

The output of the agriculture, forestry & fishing industries decreased by 2.2 per cent in the first quarter of 2012 compared with a decrease of 1.8 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2011.

The output of the production industries fell by 0.5 per cent in the first quarter of 2012. In the fourth quarter of 2011 output of the production industries fell by 1.4 per cent.

Mining & quarrying output decreased by 3.6 per cent in the first quarter of 2012. This compares with a decrease of 2.6 per cent in the previous quarter.

Manufacturing output fell by 0.3 per cent in the first quarter of 2012. This compares with a decrease of 1.1 per cent in the previous quarter.

Manufacturing growth, quarter on quarter, CVM SA

Presents manufacturing growth, CVM SA, Q1 2012
Source: Office for National Statistics

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Electricity, gas, steam & air conditioning supply increased by 1.2 per cent in 2012 quarter one compared with a decrease of 3.8 per cent in 2011 quarter four.

Water supply, sewerage & waste management increased by 0.8 per cent in the first quarter of 2012 compared with an increase of 0.9 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2011.

Gross value added excluding oil and gas extraction decreased by 0.2 per cent in the first quarter of 2012 following a decrease of 0.3 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2011.

Construction output decreased by 4.9 per cent in 2012 quarter one. In 2011 quarter four construction output was flat.

Services output increased by 0.2 per cent in the first quarter of 2012 compared with a decrease of 0.2 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2011.

Services growth, quarter on quarter, CVM SA

Presents services, Q1 2012
Source: Office for National Statistics

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Output of the distribution, hotels & restaurants industries increased by 0.3 per cent in 2012 quarter one compared with a decrease of 0.6 per cent in 2011 quarter four. This was due to strength in retail and food & beverage services.

Output of the transport, storage & communication industries rose by 1.0 per cent in 2012 quarter one compared with a decrease of 0.5 per cent in 2011 quarter four. This increase was mainly due to strength in computing services.

Output of the business services & finance industries fell by 0.3 per cent in 2012 quarter one, compared with a decrease of 0.2 per cent in 2011 quarter four. The fall in 2012 quarter one was mainly due to financial services and other professional, scientific & technical activities.

Output of government & other services increased by 0.3 per cent in 2012 quarter one, compared  with an increase of 0.3 per cent in 2011 quarter four. The 0.3 per cent increase in 2012 quarter one was due to human health activities.

GDP analysed by expenditure categories, chained volume measures, Table C2

Annex B (88.5 Kb Excel sheet) contains growth rates back to 2010 Q1.

Gross domestic expenditure increased by 0.1 per cent in the first quarter of 2012 compared with a decrease of 0.8 per cent in 2011 quarter four.

Household final consumption expenditure decreased by 0.1 per cent in 2012 quarter one, compared with an increase of 0.5 per cent in 2011 quarter four. The level of household expenditure is now 0.9 per cent lower than in 2011 quarter one. The largest decrease in household spending in the latest quarter was on miscellaneous services, due to decreases in financial services, social protection and other services. Housing expenditure also decreased in 2012 quarter one. These decreases were partially offset by increases in food & non-alcoholic drink and recreation & culture.

Household final consumption expenditure growth, quarter on quarter, CVM SA

Presents household consumption expenditure, Q1 2012
Source: Office for National Statistics

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Government final consumption expenditure increased by 1.9 per cent in 2012 quarter one, compared with an increase of 0.8 per cent in 2011 quarter four.

Gross fixed capital formation increased by 1.9 per cent in the latest quarter, compared with a decrease of 0.6 per cent in the previous quarter.

Gross fixed capital formation growth, quarter on quarter, CVM SA

Presents gross fixed capital formation growth, quarter on quarter, CVM SA, Q1 2012
Source: Office for National Statistics

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Including the alignment adjustment, the level of inventories decreased by £1.7 billion in the latest quarter.

The deficit in net trade was £3.7 billion in 2012 quarter one, compared with a deficit in net trade of £2.2 billion in 2011 quarter four.

Exports of goods increased by 0.3 per cent in 2012 quarter one due to increases in cars and fuels, partially offset by a fall in capital goods. Exports of services fell by 4.5 per cent in 2012 quarter one due to decreases in insurance, royalties & license fees, other business & communications. Imports of goods rose by 0.1 per cent in 2012 quarter one due to increases in other consumer goods, intermediate goods and cars partially offset by a decrease in fuels. Imports of services fell by 1.7 per cent in 2012 quarter one due to decreases in other business, travel and communications.

 

Net trade, £ billion, CVM SA

Presents net trade, Q1 2012
Source: Office for National Statistics

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GDP implied deflator

Annex D (29.5 Kb Excel sheet) contains growth rates back to 2010 Q1.

The gross domestic product implied deflator at market prices for 2012 quarter one is 2.0 per cent above the same quarter of 2011.

GDP at market prices implied deflator, quarter on same quarter of previous year

Presents market prices implied deflator, quarter on same quarter of previous year, Q1 2012
Source: Office for National Statistics

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GDP analysed by income categories at current prices, Table D

Annex C (22.5 Kb Excel sheet) contains growth rates back to 2010 Q1.

GDP at current market prices rose by 0.5 per cent in 2012 quarter one, compared with an increase of 0.3 per cent in 2011 quarter four.

Compensation of employees increased by 1.1 per cent in 2012 quarter one, compared with an increase of 0.9 per cent in 2011 quarter four.

Compensation of employees growth, quarter on quarter, CP SA

Presents compensation of employees growth, quarter on quarter, CP SA, Q1 2012
Source: Office for National Statistics

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The gross operating surplus of corporations, including the alignment adjustment, rose by 1.2 per cent in 2012 quarter one, compared with a fall of 1.7 per cent in 2011 quarter four. Private non-financial corporations’ operating surplus, including the alignment adjustment, rose by 2.2 per cent in 2012 quarter one. Financial corporations’ operating surplus fell by 4.8 per cent in 2012 quarter one.

Gross operating surplus of corporations growth, quarter on quarter, CP SA

Presents gross operating surplus of corporations growth, quarter on quarter, CP SA, Q1 2012
Source: Office for National Statistics

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Taxes on products and production less subsidies increased by 0.4 per cent in 2012 quarter one compared with an increase of 0.2 per cent in 2011 quarter four.

Sector accounts, tables I, J1, J2, J3, K1 and K2

Summary

The household saving ratio was 6.4 per cent in 2012 quarter one compared with 6.9 per cent in the previous quarter. For the year 2011 the saving ratio was 6.6 per cent, unchanged from 2010.

Net lending by sector, Table I

In 2012 quarter one the central government, local government and public corporations sectors were net borrowers. Financial corporations, private non-financial corporations, households and the rest of the world sectors were net lenders.

Annually for 2011, the central government and local government sectors were net borrowers. Public corporations, financial corporations, private non-financial corporations, households and the rest of the world sectors were net lenders.

Central government

Net borrowing was £25.4 billion in 2012 quarter one following net borrowing of £29.3 billion in the previous quarter. For the year 2011, net borrowing was £123.4 billion compared with £146.0 billion in 2010.

Local government

Net borrowing was £9.5 billion in 2012 quarter one following net borrowing of £2.2 billion in the previous quarter. For the year 2011, net borrowing was £4.9 billion compared with £1.0 billion in 2010.

Public corporations

Net borrowing was £0.2 billion in 2012 quarter one, following net lending of £0.1 billion in the previous quarter. For the year 2011, net lending was £0.9 billion compared with £1.0 billion in 2010.

Financial corporations

Net lending was £4.1 billion in 2012 quarter one following net borrowing of £0.1 billion in the previous quarter. For the year 2011, net lending was £26.2 billion compared with £31.0 billion in 2010.

Private non-financial corporations

Net lending was £18.9 billion in 2012 quarter one, following net lending of £22.2 billion in the previous quarter. For the year 2011, net lending was £64.8 billion compared with £64.0 billion in 2010.

Households and non-profit institutions serving households

Net lending was £2.4 billion in 2012 quarter one following net lending of £3.4 billion in the previous quarter. For the year 2011, net lending was £12.6 billion compared with net lending of £17.4 billion in 2010.

Rest of the world

Net lending was £10.2 billion in 2012 quarter one, following net lending of £6.4 billion in the previous quarter. For the year 2011, net lending was £25.6 billion following on from £33.6 billion in 2010. This implies a UK current account deficit for 2011.

Net lending by sector £billion, CP SA

Presents net lending by sector CP SA, Q1 2012
Source: Office for National Statistics

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The household and non-profit institutions serving households (NPISH) sector, Tables J1, J2 and J3

The saving ratio in 2012 quarter one was 6.4 per cent in compared with 6.9 per cent in 2011 quarter four. This fall was driven by a decrease in gross operating surplus and mixed income and an increase in final consumption expenditure partially offset by a decrease in taxes on income and wealth.

Household saving ratio, CP SA

Presents household saving ratio, CP SA,
Source: Office for National Statistics

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The level of real household disposable income decreased by 0.9 per cent in the latest quarter following a decrease of 0.9 per cent in 2011 quarter four. The fall in the latest quarter is due to a 0.3 per cent decrease in nominal gross disposable income and a rise of 0.6 per cent in the household and NPISH final consumption expenditure deflator.

Real household disposable income, quarter on quarter, CVM SA

Presents Real household disposable income, quarter on quarter, CVM SA
Source: Office for National Statistics

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For the year 2011, real household disposable income decreased by 1.0 per cent following on from a 0.5 per cent increase in 2010. The fall in 2011 reflects a rise of 4.5 per cent in the household and NPISH final consumption expenditure deflator partially offset by a 3.5 per cent increase in nominal gross disposable income. The rise in nominal gross disposable income was driven by increased compensation of employees and gross operating surplus and mixed income, partially offset by increased taxes on income and wealth.

Private non-financial corporations sector, tables K1 and K2

Net lending of private non-financial corporations was £18.9 billion in the latest quarter, compared with net lending of £22.2 billion in the previous quarter. The decrease in net lending in the latest quarter was driven by a fall in net property income.

For the year 2011 net lending was £64.8 billion compared with £64.0 billion in 2010.

Economic background

The GDP growth rate for the first quarter remained unrevised as a fall of 0.3 per cent.  There have been downward revisions to household consumption and net trade, making growth of both of these components negative. There was also a significant reduction in levels of inventories in the first quarter. General government final consumption and gross fixed capital formation (particularly business investment) have contributed to offset the downward revisions.

For the income approach, total gross operating surplus excluding the alignment adjustment has fallen both between the fourth quarter of 2011 and the first quarter of 2012. In particular, the gross operating surplus of financial corporations and private non-financial corporations, excluding the alignment adjustment, fell between the fourth quarter of 2011 and the first quarter of 2012, pulling down the aggregate of gross operating surplus. Other income, which includes mixed income and non-corporate sector GOS, also fell between the latest two quarters. The main area of growth was in a significant upward revision to compensation of employees.

The weakness of growth over the last two quarters means that GDP is now around the same level as it was in the third quarter of 2010, so GDP growth has been broadly flat over the last eighteen months.

Revisions

Revisions resulting from the incorporation of new data, replacement of forecasts, improvements to seasonal adjustment, rebalancing of annual supply and use tables, improvements to the measurement of insurance services have been taken back to the first quarter of 1987. Further work following changes in deflation methodology introduced at Blue Book 2011 has led to deflator revisions back to 1948. This may cause revisions in chained volume measure estimates. Data has also been rebased back to the beginning of the time series. There may also be small revisions within the accounts resulting from the implementation of minor processing improvements following the previous Blue Book publication.

More detail on earlier revisions is included in an article published simultaneously with this release, Myers and Lee (2012) ‘Impact of changes in the national accounts and economic commentary for 2012 quarter 1’. (213 Kb Pdf)

ONS has also published an article on the new insurance methodology, Williams, Duff and Wisniewski (2012) ‘New insurance and data methods 1997-2008’ (97.8 Kb Pdf)  and Williams, Duff and Wisniewski (2012) 'Blue Book 2012:Improvements to the measurement of insurance services' (87.9 Kb Pdf) .

GDP and components (previously published on 24 May 2012)

GDP growth for 2012 quarter one is unrevised from the fall of 0.3 percentage points published on 24 May 2012. There has been a downward revision of 0.1 percentage points to 2011 quarter four and an upward revision of 0.3 percentage points to 2011 quarter one.

The peak to trough fall in GDP in the 2008 and 2009 downturn has been revised to a 6.3 per cent fall from the 7.1 per cent fall previously estimated. The peak quarter remains at 2008 quarter one and the trough quarter remains at 2009 quarter two.

Gross domestic product, quarter on quarter growth, CVM SA

Presents gross domestic product, quarter on quarter growth, CVM SA, Q1 2012
Source: Office for National Statistics

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On an annual basis, GDP growth in 2011 has been revised up by 0.1 percentage points. Growth in 2010 has been revised down by 0.3 percentage points. Further back in the time series, growth in 2005 has been revised up by 0.7 percentage points (this is primarily due to an improvement in the treatment of the effects of Hurricane Katrina on the insurance industry). A complete picture of the annual revisions to GDP growth back to 1998 is shown in the table 'Revisions to annual GDP growth' . This shows revisions between the annual estimates published in the second estimate of GDP (published on 24 May 2012) and those published in this quarterly national accounts release.

Historical GDP annual revisions, 1998 to 2001

1998 1999 2000 2001
REVISIONS  M2 M3 Revisions M2 M3 Revisions M2 M3 Revisions M2 M3 Revisions
GDP 3.8 3.5 -0.3 3.7 3.2 -0.5 4.5 4.2 -0.3 3.2 2.9 -0.3
Total Production 1.4 1.4 - 1.3 1.4 0.1 2.0 2.1 0.1 -1.5 -1.5 -
Construction 1.8 1.7 -0.1 1.3 1.4 0.1 1.1 1.0 -0.1 1.7 1.7 -
Total Services 5.3 4.7 -0.6 4.9 4.1 -0.8 5.7 5.4 -0.3 4.4 4.1 -0.3

Table source: Office for National Statistics

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Historical GDP annual revisions, 2002 to 2005

2002 2003 2004 2005
REVISIONS M2 M3 Revisions M2 M3 Revisions M2 M3 Revisions M2 M3 Revisions
GDP 2.7 2.4 -0.3 3.5 3.8 0.3 3.0 2.9 -0.1 2.1 2.8 0.7
Total Production -1.5 -1.6 -0.1 -0.3 -0.3 - 0.9 0.9 - -0.8 -0.8 -
Construction 5.5 5.5 - 4.8 4.9 0.1 5.1 5.2 0.1 -2.5 -2.5 -
Total Services 3.0 2.7 -0.3 4.5 5.0 0.5 3.0 3.0 - 3.4 4.4 1.0

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Historical GDP annual revisions, 2006 to 2009

2006 2007 2008 2009
REVISIONS M2 M3 Revisions M2 M3 Revisions M2 M3 Revisions M2 M3 Revisions
GDP 2.6 2.6 - 3.5 3.6 0.1 -1.1 -1.0 0.1 -4.4 -4.0 0.4
Total Production 0.0 0.1 0.1 0.5 0.5 - -2.8 -2.8 - -9.0 -9.1 -0.1
Construction 0.7 0.7 - 2.1 2.1 - -2.8 -2.7 0.1 -13.5 -13.5 -
Total Services 3.3 3.3 - 4.4 4.7 0.3 -0.5 -0.2 0.3 -2.6 -2.1 0.5

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Historical GDP annual revisions, 2010 to 2011

2010 2011
REVISIONS    M2 M3 Revisions    M2 M3 Revisions
GDP 2.1 1.8 -0.3 0.7 0.8 0.1
Total Production 1.9 2.1 0.2 -1.2 -0.7 0.5
Construction 8.2 7.9 -0.3 2.8 2.8 -
Total Services 1.4 1.1 -0.3 1.6 1.2 -0.4

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M2 refers to the second estimate of GDP for the latest quarter published on 24 May 2012 while M3 refers to the current quarterly national accounts release, the third estimate of GDP for the latest quarter.

Output components

Growth in the volume of the output in the production industries in 2012 quarter one has been revised down by 0.1 percentage points. In both 2011 quarters four and three, growth in the volume of output in the production industries has been similarly revised down by 0.1 percentage points. 2011 quarter two has been revised up by 0.3 percentage points and revised up by 0.2 percentage points in 2011 quarter one.

Growth in the volume of output in the service industries in 2012 quarter one has been revised up by 0.1 percentage points. In 2011 quarter four, growth in the volume of output in the service industries has been revised down by 0.1 percentage points. In  2011 quarter two,  growth has been revised up by 0.1 percentage points and revised down by 0.2 percentage points in 2011 quarter one.

Growth in construction output in 2012 quarter one has been revised down by 0.1 percentage points. In 2011 quarter four, growth in construction output has been revised up by 0.2 percentage points. In 2011 quarters three and two, growth in construction output has been revised down by 0.4 and 1.4 percentage points respectively. In 2011 quarter one, growth in construction output has been revised up by 2.0 percentage points.

Expenditure components, chained volume measures

Growth in household final consumption expenditure has been revised down by 0.2 percentage points for 2012 quarter one and has been revised up by 0.1 percentage points for 2011 quarter four.  For 2011, quarters three and two, household final consumption expenditure growth has been revised down by 0.4 and 0.2 percentage points respectively.

Growth in general government final consumption expenditure has been revised up by 0.3 percentage points for 2012 quarter one. General government final consumption expenditure growth has also been revised up by 0.3 percentage points for 2011 quarter four; revised up by 0.4 percentage points for 2011 quarter three and revised up by 0.2 percentage points for 2011 quarter two.

Growth in gross fixed capital formation has been revised up by 2.2 percentage points for 2012 quarter one. There was an upward revision of 0.1 percentage points for gross fixed capital formation growth for 2011 quarter one.

Growth in exports of goods and services has been revised down by 1.8 percentage points for 2012 quarter one. For 2011 quarter four and 2011 quarter three growth in exports of goods and services has been revised up by 1.5 and 0.7 percentage points respectively. Exports of goods and services growth has been revised down by 0.8 percentage points in 2011 quarter two and revised up by 0.3 percentage points in 2011 quarter one.

Growth in imports of goods and services has been revised down by 0.7 percentage points in 2012 quarter one. In 2011 quarter four, growth in imports of goods and services was revised up by 0.7 percentage points. In 2011 quarters two and one there were downward revisions of 0.2 and 0.5 percentage points respectively for growth in imports of goods and services.

Income components

Growth in compensation of employees has been revised up by 1.1 percentage points for 2012 quarter one and revised down by 0.3 percentage points for 2011 quarter three. For 2011 quarter two compensation of employees growth has been revised down by 0.1 percentage points and revised up by 0.2 percentage points in 2011 quarter one.

Growth in the gross operating surplus of corporations for 2012 quarter one has been revised up by 0.4 percentage points. For 2011 quarters four and three gross operating surplus of corporations’ growth has also been revised downwards, by 0.4 and 0.2 percentage points respectively. Growth in the gross operating surplus of corporations for 2011 quarter two has been revised up by 0.2 percentage points and revised up by 2.4 percentage points for 2011 quarter one.

Revisions, Sector accounts (previously published on 28 March 2012)

Net lending by sector, Table I

Central government

Net borrowing in 2011 quarter four was revised from £29.4 billion to £29.3 billion. For the year 2011 net borrowing was revised from £122.3 billion to £123.4 billion.

Local government

Net borrowing in 2011 quarter four was revised from £1.7 billion to £2.2 billion. For the year 2011  net borrowing was revised from £3.4 billion to £4.9 billion. 

Public corporations

Net lending in 2011 quarter four was revised from £0.2 billion to £0.1 billion. For the year 2011 net lending was revised from £1.7 billion to £0.9 billion. 

Financial corporations

2011 quarter four was revised from net lending of £0.9 billion to net borrowing of £0.1 billion. For the year 2011 net lending was revised from £25.1 billion to £26.2 billion. 

Private non-financial corporations

Net lending in 2011 quarter four was revised from £17.2 billion to £22.2 billion. For the year 2011 net lending was revised from £53.2 billion to £64.8 billion. 

Household and NPISH

Net lending in 2011 quarter four was revised from £5.7 billion to £3.4 billion. For the year 2011 net lending was revised from £21.0 billion to £12.6 billion. 

Rest of the world

Net lending in 2011 quarter four was revised from £7.6 billion to £6.4 billion. For the year 2011 net lending was revised from £25.4 billion to £25.6 billion. 

Household and non profit institutions serving households (NPISH) sector, Tables J1, J2 and J3

The household saving ratio was revised down in 2011 quarter four from 7.7 per cent to 6.9 per cent. This reflects downward revision to net property income.

Real household disposable income growth has been revised down from a fall of 0.2 per cent to a fall of 0.9 per cent in 2011 quarter four.

Background notes

  1. This release contains data consistent with ONS' annual Blue Book publication, to be published on 31 July 2012. An article describing the content of the Blue Book 2012 is available on the ONS website.

  2. A preliminary estimate of GDP for the second quarter of 2012 will be published on 25 July 2012. The second estimate of GDP for the second quarter of 2012 will be published on 24 August 2012. A full set of quarterly national accounts for the second quarter of 2012 will be published on 27 September 2012.

  3. This release is the quarterly national accounts release (month 3). Data content for each successive release of GDP varies accordingly to availablity.

    The preliminary estimate of GDP (month 1) is based on output data alone. These are based on survey estimates for the first two months of the quarter with estimates for the third month of the quarter based on forecasts using early returns from businesses. Other (non-survey based) data used in the compilation of the output measure are also based on forecasts.

    For the second estimate of GDP (month 2) output estimates based on survey data are available for all three months of the quarter, in addition to other significant data sources. Estimates of the expenditure and income approaches to measuring GDP are also available in this release based on a combination of limited survey data, other data sources and forecasts.

    For the quarterly national accounts release (month 3) output survey data are available for all three months of the quarter, along with most other data sources. For the expenditure and income approaches to measuring GDP, more extensive survey data are available, in addition to other data sources and a more limited use of forecasts.

    After this release, the current quarter will be subject to revision in accordance with National Accounts revisions policy as further data, annual benchmarks and methodological improvements are implemented.

  4. Changes to bank holidays in May and June 2012

    As part of the celebrations for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee there are changes to bank holidays in May and June 2012. The late May bank holiday moved into June, and there was an additional day's holiday. The change to the holidays will count as a statistical special event in line with ONS's policy on Special Events. The event was not regular, so there will not be an adjustment to account for it as part of the seasonal adjustment process. Users are therefore likely to see an effect related to an additional working day in May and two fewer working days in June in the seasonally adjusted series. ONS will include commentary with releases as usual, including commentary specifically to help users with the interpretation of statistics in these two months. Nevertheless, caution should be taken when interpreting the movements in affected outputs involving May and June 2012, as the Jubilee Bank holidays create some additional uncertainty.

  5. An article titled 'Treatment of the Sale of Olympic Tickets' (11.1 Kb Pdf) in the National Accounts is available on the ONS website.

  6. Basic Quality Information for GDP Statistical Bulletin

    A Summary Quality Report (518.9 Kb Pdf) for this Statistical Bulletin can be found on the ONS website.

  7. Key quality issues

    Common pitfalls in interpreting series: Expectations of accuracy and reliability in early estimates are often too high. Revisions are an inevitable consequence of the trade-off between timeliness and accuracy. Early estimates are based on incomplete data.

    Very few statistical revisions arise as a result of 'errors' in the popular sense of the word. All estimates, by definition, are subject to statistical 'error' but in this context the word refers to the uncertainty inherent in any process or calculation that uses sampling, estimation or modelling. Most revisions reflect either the adoption of new statistical techniques or the incorporation of new information which allows the statistical error of previous estimates to be reduced. Only rarely are there avoidable 'errors' such as human or system failures and such mistakes are made quite clear when they do occur.

  8. Reliability

    Estimates for the most recent quarters are provisional and are subject to revision in the light of updated source information. ONS currently provides an analysis of past revisions in the GDP and other Statistical Bulletins which present times series.

    ONS has a webpage dedicated to revisions to economic statistics which brings together ONS work on revisions analysis, linking to articles, revisions policies and key documentation from the Statistics Commission's report on revisions. 

    Revisions to data provide one indication of the reliability of key indicators. The tables below show summary information on the size and direction of the revisions which have been made to data covering a five-year period. A statistical test has been applied to the average revision to find out if it is statistically significantly different from zero. An asterisk (*) shows if the test is significant. The result of the test is that the average revision is not statistically significantly different from zero.

  9. Revisions to GDP estimates

    Table 1 shows the revisions to month 1 and month 2 estimates of GDP. The analysis of revisions between month 1 and month 2 uses month 2 estimates published from August 2007 (2007q2) to May 2012 (2012q1). The analysis of revisions between month 2 and month 3 uses month 3 estimates published from June 2007 (2007q1) to March 2012 (2011 q4).  

     

    Table 1: Revisions to early estimates of GDP growth

    Revisions between early estimates of GDP growth (quarterly, CVM)
    Revisions to GDP growth  GDP growth in the latest period (per cent) Average over the last five years  Average over the last five years without regard to sign (average absolute revision)
    Between M1 and M2 -0.3 0.00 0.06
    Between M2 and M3 -0.3 -0.03 0.08

    Table source: Office for National Statistics

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    Table 2 shows the revisions to GDP growth and the household saving ratio between the estimate published three months after the end of the quarter and the equivalent estimate three years later. For GDP and Household saving ratio, the analysis uses month 3 estimates first published from June 2004 (2004q1) to March 2009 (2008q4) for GDP.

    Table 2: Revisions to month 3 estimates of GDP growth

      GDP growth in the latest period (per cent) Revisions between first publication and estimates three years later
    Average over the last five years  Average over the last five years without regard to sign (average absolute revision)
    GDP growth (quarterly CVM) -0.3 -0.20 0.31
    Household saving ratio 6.4 -0.91 1.16

    Table source: Office for National Statistics

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    Spreadsheets giving revisions triangles (real-time databases) of estimates from 1992 to date, and the calculations behind the averages in both tables are available on the ONS website.

    Revisions triangles for the main components of GDP from expenditure, ouput and income approaches are also available. 

    An article titled 'Understanding the quality of early estimates of Gross Domestic Product' (122.9 Kb Pdf) , was first published in December 2009, is available on the ONS website. 

  10. Coherence

    Historic experience shows that the output approach provides the best timely approach to measuring GDP growth. GDP growth according to the expenditure and income approaches is therefore brought into line with that recorded by output.

  11. Further information

    Latest copies of this and other ONS releases are available under Press Releases on the ONS website. ONS has also produced a short guide to the UK National Accounts (124.6 Kb Pdf)

    Details of the policy governing the release of new data are available from the Media Relations Office. Also available is a list of the names of those given pre-publication access to the contents of this bulletin (39 Kb Pdf) .

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  13. Code of practice

    National Statistics are produced to high professional standards set out in the UK Statistics Authority's Code of Practice for Official Statistics. They undergo regular quality assurance reviews to ensure that they meet customer needs. They are produced free from any political interference.

    Next publication: 25 July 2012

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    Under the terms of the Open Government Licence and UK Government Licensing Framework, anyone wishing to use or re-use ONS material, whether commercially or privately, may do so freely without a specific application for a licence, subject to the conditions of the OGL and the Framework.

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  15. Index to tables

    Gross domestic product tables

    National accounts aggregates (index numbers) ................................................ A1

    National accounts aggregates ......................................................................... A2

    Gross value added chained volume measures at basic prices, by category of output ........................................................................................................... B1

    Gross value added chained volume measures at basic prices, by category of output: service industries ...................................................................................................... B2

    Gross domestic product: expenditure
    Current market prices ................................................................................... C1

    Gross domestic product: expenditure
    Chained volume measures ............................................................................. C2

    Gross domestic product: by category of income
    Current market prices ................................................................................... D

    Household final consumption expenditure by purpose
    Current market prices ................................................................................... E1

    Household final consumption expenditure (goods and services)
    Current market prices ................................................................................... E2

    Household final consumption expenditure by purpose
    Chained volume measures............................................................................. E3

    Household final consumption expenditure (goods and services)
    Chained volume measures............................................................................. E4

    Gross fixed capital formation by sector and type of asset
    Chained volume measures............................................................................. F

    Changes in inventories
    Chained volume measures............................................................................ G

    Exports and imports of goods and services
    Current market prices      ........................................................................... H1

    Exports and imports of goods and services
    Chained volume measures........................................................................... H2 

    Sector accounts tables

    Net lending/borrowing by sector.................................................................. I


    Household sector: allocation of primary income account................................ J1

    Household sector: secondary distribution of income account........................... J2

    Household sector: use of disposable income account..................................... J3

    Private non-financial corporation sector:

    allocation of primary income account............................................................. K1

    Private non-financial corporation sector:

    secondary distribution of income account and capital account........................... K2

    Other analysis

    Gross value at basic prices: individual measures............................................. L

    Alignment adjustments................................................................................. M

    Revisions tables 

    Revisions analysis: revisions against previously published estimates.................. R 

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Statistical contacts

Name Phone Department Email
Luke Croydon +44 (0)845 6041858 Media Relations media.relations@ons.gsi.gov.uk
Luke Croydon +44 (0)7867 906553 Emergency on-call media.relations@ons.gsi.gov.uk
Pete Lee +44 (0)1633 456713 Office for National Statistics gdp@ons.gsi.gov.uk
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