UK economy picks up speed in 3 months, puts BoE rate hike firmly on track

Output rose 0.4 percent compared with 0.3 percent growth in the quarter to June, the Office for National Statistics said on Wednesday. A Reuters poll of economists had forecast 0.3 percent.Sterling hit a day’s high against the dollar on the figures, while British government bond and share prices fell as financial markets further adjusted to the prospect of higher interest rates.Britain performed much better than most economists expected immediately after last year’s vote to leave the European Union, and was one of the fastest-growing major advanced economies in 2016.But it slipped to the bottom of the pack earlier this year, posting its worst first-half performance since 2012 at a time when its peers have enjoyed robust growth.A Reuters poll published on Tuesday showed the BoE is widely expected to raise rates to 0.50 percent from 0.25 percent on Nov. 2, due to concerns that the economy cannot grow as fast as it used to without generating excess inflation.Last month the BoE said Wednesday’s preliminary data was likely to show 0.3 percent growth, though it might be stronger due to improving consumer demand.