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The U.K. economy grew more strongly than expected in September after a surge in service industries and construction.

Gross domestic product rose 0.6% from August, the Office for National Statistics said Thursday. That was quicker than the 0.4% pace anticipated by economists.

The quarterly figure was only slightly weaker than the latest Bank of England forecast, which may reinforce expectations that policy makers will raise interest rates next month to rein in a rapidly accelerating inflation rate.

“The economy continues to recover from Covid, and thanks to schemes like furlough, the unemployment rate has fallen for eight months in a row,” Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak said in a statement. “We’re forecast to have the fastest growth in the G7 this year. As the world reopens we know that there are still challenges to overcome.”

The ONS revised lower July and August figures, which meant that the economy expanded 1.3% in the third quarter and was just 2.1% below its level before the pandemic struck. That was slightly slower than the BOE had anticipated, which was looking for a reading of 1.5%.

For the month, service industries grew 0.7% due to an increase in output from the health sector as many doctors resumed face-to-face appointments. Consumer-facing services fell 0.6% because of a drop in retail sales. That may fan concerns at the BOE of a drop in consumption, which might weigh more heavily on the recovery in the months ahead as inflation bites and taxes increase.

“With the headwinds facing the U.K. economy growing, we would caution the Bank of England against raising interest rates in the near term t avoid destabilizing an already brittle recovery,” said Suren Thiru, head of economics at the British Chambers of Commerce.

Manufacturing fell in the month on a drop in vehicle production, which declined the most since May because of widespread shortages in the supply chain. Car makers reported difficulties getting hold of semiconductor chips needed to complete vehicles. That limited the supply of new cars, which boosted demand and prices for used vehicles.

“It’s encouraging that the economy maintained some momentum in September, but there’s no denying that this rounded off a tough quarter for businesses, with supply constraints biting hard,” said Alpesh Paleja, lead economist at the CBI, the nation’s biggest business lobby group. “A combination of rising Covid cases and shortages of raw materials, components and labor came together to present significant headwinds to growth.”

Construction, which also had been hit by those issues, expanded by 1.3% in September. That was driven by both new work as well as repairs and maintenance.

Separate figures on trade showed the trade deficit excluding precious metals widened to almost 40 billion pounds ($54 billion) in the third quarter. Exports fell more sharply than expected, and imports rose.

“U.K. exporters face a difficult winter ahead as supply disruption shows little sign of easing, with profits squeezed as a result,” said Ana Boata, head of economic research at trade credit insurer Euler Hermes. “Those in the automotive, machinery and equipment, and chemicals industries are particularly exposed to a shortage-induced industrial recession and export performance would continue to be hurt as a result.” The central bank, which shocked markets by leaving the benchmark rate unchanged this month, warned that higher rates will be needed over the coming months if the economy evolves as forecast.

Labor market data will be crucial to whether the BOE becomes the first major central bank to tighten policy since the since the pandemic. Policy makers are closely watching the fate of the 1 million people who were still furloughed when the government stopped paying their wages in October. The early indications are that the majority returned to work. If so, it suggest the labor remains tight, which the BOE fears could lead to a wage-price spiral if left unchecked. The central bank is forecasting a marginal and temporary rise in unemployment in the fourth quarter.

A key risk to the outlook is the pressure on living standards inflicted by rising prices and looming tax increases. The BOE noted signs that demand is showing signs of softening.

(Updates with details from the statement.)

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