I said I would break down the manufacturing and construction figures a little more. So here goes…
Manufacturing output was flat in the third quarter after falling 1.8pc between April and June.
The struggles of those sectors were offset almost entirely by a robust 6.2pc growth in the transport equipment segment.
That growth was boosted because of the weak performance in the second quarter when many manufacturers implemented shutdowns in April in an effort to avoid disruption the predicted would arise following the UK’s intended departure from the EU on March 29.
We know the UK economy grew 1pc in the past year and that this is the slowest rate of growth in almost a decade.
Economist Rupert Seggins has dived into the figures. A quick look shows that the UK is behind the US (2pc), Spain (2pc) and France (1.3pc) but ahead of Italy (0.3pc).
If you’re wondering who Senator Neale Richmond is, he’s the Brexit spokesperson for the Fine Gael party of Irish Taoiseach (prime minister) Leo Varadkar.
The UK’s services sector grew 0.4pc in the three months to September, making it the biggest driver of overall economic growth.
Within services, the information and communication industries were the biggest contributors, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.
The services sector is crucial to the economy’s overall wellbeing, accounting for roughly four-fifths of all UK economic activity.
Elsewhere, construction grew 0.6pc while manufacturing was flat. We’ll break those figures down a little in a few minutes.
So a recession has been averted but it’s not all good news as some commentators have been quick to point out.
The economy grew 0.3pc in the third quarter but the annual growth rate was a sluggish 1pc. That’s the slowest rate of annual growth since 2009, as Sky’s Ed Conway has noted.
More on those UK economic growth figures
Here is the latest from the Office for National Statistics, which compiles the economic data.
UK avoids recession
The latest economic figures mean that the UK has avoided falling into recession.
The economy contracted by 0.2pc in the second quarter, meaning that the country would have entered recession if the contraction had continued in the three months to September.
BREAK: UK economy returns to growth
The UK economy returned to growth in the third quarter of the year, expanding by 0.3pc. That’s marginally lower than analyst consensus of 0.4pc.
Prosus presses on with Just Eat cash bid
Prosus is pressing ahead with its hostile cash bid for food delivery firm Just Eat.
The firm, backed by South African tech company Naspers, has dropped the required level of acceptances for its offer to proceed from 90pc to 75pc.
This is not a major surprise as more than 10pc of shareholders were already opposed to the Prosus offer.
The decision sets up a battle with Takeaway.com, which is offering Just Eat investors shares in the merged Anglo-Dutch entity that its bid would create.
Prosus, which published its bid prospectus this morning, is holding its offer at £4.9bn.
It argued that Takeaway.com’s share price has fallen 12.4pc since the star of the offer period – that potentially makes the Takeaway.com offer less valuable because it is offering to pay Just Eat investors using shares in itself.
A reminder what’s at stake: Take a look at some of the numbers behind Just Eat
Prosus has warned Just Eat investors that if they opt for the Takeaway.com offer, it will not buy the combined group. Our transport & leisure correspondent Oliver Gill has the details:
Chinese firm Jingye closes in on British Steel rescue deal
Chinese firm Jingye is set to buy British Steel, potentially saving up to 4,000 jobs.
Jingye has emerged as the most likely buyer of the business after talks with Turkish group Ataer collapsed.
Advisers were this weekend putting finishing touches to a draft agreement that would see Jingye pay about £70m for British Steel, The Telegraph reported on Saturday.
Read this morning’s report here: Chinese firm Jingye closes in on British Steel rescue deal
Poor timing for Fortnum & Mason’s Hong Kong opening
ICYMI Fortnum & Mason is opening it’s first overseas standalone store today in Hong Kong as protests continue to rock the region https://t.co/htj2fFpu4K
— Hannah Uttley (@huttleyjourno) November 11, 2019
My colleague Hannah Uttley has noted that today is the first day of trading for Fortnum & Mason’s Hong Kong store – not great timing.
Fortnum was due to open the Hong Kong store in early autumn, but this was delayed. The British retailer announced in April that it would open the store, before the protests began in June.
The 7,000 sq ft store overlooks the territory’s harbour and will host a restaurant designed to replicate its site at 45 Jermyn St, London.
Protests spill into Hong Kong’s central business district
In Hong Kong, police fired tear gas in the central business district where some protesters, crouching behind umbrellas, blocked streets.
Office workers on their lunch break crowded the pavements and hurled anti-government abuse, Reuters reported.
Protests have been happening almost daily in Hong Kong, sometimes with little or no notice, disrupting business and piling pressure on the government.
But it is rare for tear gas to be fired during working hours in Central, an area lined with bank headquarters and shops with high-end brands.
The rising tensions have put a halt to a strong run for the territory’s stock market, which has risen steadily this month on hopes of a US-China trade deal.
Escalation of tensions in Hong Kong sends markets into tailspin
Tensions have escalated in Hong Kong after reports that police had shot a protester at close range. The protester was in critical condition, hospital officials said.
The Chinese-ruled territory spiralled into rare working-hours violence in its 24th straight week of pro-democracy unrest.
The violence usually begins after dusk. Some offices were closing early and workers were heading home.
The escalation caused renewed anxiety among investors in the region, sending markets into a tailspin. The Hang Seng index is trading more than 2.7pc lower today.
Agenda: How did the economy fare in Q3?
Good morning. We’ll find out later today whether the UK economy expanded in the three months to the end of September, as third quarter GDP numbers are published.
Economists are anticipating a 0.4pc increase, rebounding from the 0.2pc contraction in the second quarter, with the UK’s dominant services sector expected to be the main driver of growth.
5 things to start your day
1) Tech giant Prosus is warning Just Eat investors that it will walk away from its pursuit of the delivery company if they back a rival plan to merge with Takeaway.com: Prosus gatecrashed Just Eat’s marriage with Takeaway.com at the end of last month. Despite being armed with a €20bn (£17bn) war chest, boss Bob van Dijk is telling Just Eat shareholders that Prosus is not interested in buying both and would walk away if they pursue the Takeaway.com deal.
2) Energy sector woes ‘just tip of the iceberg’ as 28 suppliers go under: At least 28 electricity companies have gone bust since the start of 2018, a substantially higher number than previously thought, as rising wholesale costs and renewable power commitments squeeze smaller suppliers. And now, experts say, a “single insolvency can potentially push multiple wholesalers into financial difficulty, or even collapse”.
3) A wintry washout dealt a fresh blow to Britain’s retailers, putting off would-be shoppers from venturing out on to the high street last month: Footfall fell 3.2pc compared with last year – the largest drop in October for seven years, according to figures released today.
4) A lack of new homes is hampering plans to create innovative technology clusters between Cambridge and Oxford, research has found: One million new jobs could be created in industries including cybersecurity and biotechnology across the so-called Oxford-Cambridge arc, Savills said – but first, land for 680,000 homes needed to be found, as well as 9.6m sq feet of office space, and 69m sq feet of warehouse space.
5) More than 200,000 employees at major companies including Ikea, Aviva and Nationwide are in line for a pay rise after campaigners announced a rise in the voluntary UK Living Wage today: The new rate comes as major political parties make low-pay a key battleground in the general election.
What happened overnight
Asian markets turned lower on Monday as another record close on Wall Street was overshadowed by uncertainty over the China-US trade talks, while Hong Kong was also hit by fresh protests in which at least one person was shot.
Expectations Beijing and Washington will agree a mini pact have fuelled an stock market rally for the past few weeks. Hopes were given an added boost Thursday after China said the two sides had agreed to roll back some tariffs as the negotiations progress.
But the US side sent out some confusing signals after that announcement, before Donald Trump denied such an agreement, leaving investors scratching their heads.
Still, White House trade adviser Peter Navarro provided a lift to sentiment, saying Trump could postpone tariffs on Chinese goods scheduled to take effect in December. The S&P 500 and Dow both ended at fresh all-time highs.
However, Asian investors were unable to extend the winning streak.
Tokyo went into the break 0.2pc lower and Singapore shed 0.4pc with Seoul, Taipei and Manila also lower.
Shanghai dropped 0.9pc, with traders keeping tabs on Alibaba’s annual “Singles’ Day” shopping frenzy, the world’s biggest 24-hour shopping event, which acts as a gauge of the country’s consumer spending.
Total gross merchandise volume settled through the company’s payments platform Alipay hit 100 billion yuan ($14.3 billion) within 63 minutes and 59 seconds, according to Alibaba – 43 minutes ahead of last year’s pace. The firm said the first $1bn was spent in just 68 seconds.
Hong Kong sank more than 2pc as the city was gripped by another wave of protests that have jammed up the transport network and led to the closure of several businesses.
At least one person was hurt after a policemen fired several shots are demonstrators, as the five-month-long unrest – which has battered the city’s image and dragged on the economy – shows no sign of letting up.
Tensions have soared in recent days following the death on Friday of a 22-year-old student who succumbed to injuries sustained from a fall in the vicinity of a police clearance operation a week earlier.
On currency markets the pound struggled to bounce back after suffering a sell-off Friday in reaction to news that Moody’s had downgraded the outlook for Britain’s debt, citing mounting policy challenges as the Brexit saga rumbles along.
Coming up today
Full-year results: Carrs Group
Trading statements: Dignity
Economics: Third quarter GDP figures (UK), Industrial production (UK), Manufacturing production (UK)