Britain's economy picked up a bit of speed in May after slowing in early 2018, according to official figures that will give the Bank of England more confidence about raising interest rates next month for only the second time in over a decade.

A new monthly reading of GDP showed British economy grew by 0.3% in May from April, the strongest performance since November and up from growth of 0.2% a month earlier.

The figure was in line with market forecasts. Growth came mostly from the dominant services sector while factory output disappointed, the Office for National Statistics said.

The good weather that helped spending in May continued into June and July, promising a pickup in growth. A British Retail Consortium survey earlier on Tuesday also showed a boost to sales from the soccer World Cup .

Governor Mark Carney and other BoE officials opted not to raise rates in May because of the winter slowdown and decided to wait to be sure cold weather was to blame, not broader problems ahead of Britain's exit from the European Union next year.

However, Prime Minister Theresa May's attempts to keep a grip on the ruling Conservative Party, which is deeply split over Brexit, could yet affect confidence among employers, a potential new hurdle for the BoE.

In the three months to May, Britain's economy grew by 0.2% after stagnating in the three months to April and was 1.5% bigger than in May last year.

The BoE is expected to raise rates by 25 basis points to 0.75% on August 2. It raised rates in November for the first time since before the financial crisis and has signalled it will raise them gradually over the next three years.

Britain’s services industry grew 0.3% month-on-month in May, slowing from an upwardly revised 0.4% in April.

Over the three months to May, growth in services picked up speed to 0.4% from 0.2%.

But industrial output fell unexpectedly in May by 0.4% on the month, hit by the shutdown of the Sullom Voe oil and gas terminal. Manufacturing growth also disappointed, rising only 0.4% on the month. May capped the weakest three months for British factories since December 2012.

There was better news from construction, which had struggled in the bad weather of early 2018. Output jumped 2.9% in May, far exceeding expectations and marking the first growth in the sector since December.

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