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Building boost sparks fresh fears of rate rise

The Office for National Statistics is expected to revise up Britain's growth rate this week following a rethink over official estimates of the performance of the construction industry. The ONS has suggested that in the absence of other changes, GDP growth will be revised up from 0.3% to 0.4% for the first quarter, and from 2.8% to 2.9% for last year. Howard Archer of IHS Global Insight commented: 'The economic fundamentals look broadly positive, particularly for the consumer, and we believe growth will be largely healthy through the second half of 2015.' Michael Saunders of Citi said the economic expansion and signs of a transition in the labour market would soon persuade the Monetary Policy Committee that it was time to start raising rates. 'We pencil in the first quarter of 2016,' he said, 'unless the external backdrop worsens markedly.'

 

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