The UK's economy grew at 0.8% between July and September, higher than most economists had expected.
It follows 1.2% growth in the second quarter of the year, and is higher than the 0.4% expected by most commentators.
The gross domestic product (GDP) figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) cover the three months to the end of September.
It has thrown the spotlight back on the Bank of England, which had been expected to resume quantitative easing over the next few months.
The stronger growth is in line with the expectations of MPC hawk Andrew Sentance, who has repeatedly called for an interest rate rise.
Sterling rose to 1.1383 against the euro and 0.9% to $1.5870 against the US dollar following the release of the figures.
With inflation still running above the Bank of England's 3% upper limit, Schroders' European economist Azad Zangana says it is not difficult for the Monetary Policy Committee to justify resuming quantitative easing at its November meeting.
"Within the details, all of the major sectors of the economy enjoyed positive growth with the exception of the agricultural sector. Production industries grew by 0.6%, and within this, the manufacturing sector expanded by 1% over the quarter," Zangana says.
"Growth in the construction fell from the exceptional 9.5% in the second quarter to a more modest 4% in the last three months. Finally, the service sector enjoyed another strong quarter growing by 0.6%.
"In our view, fears that the private sector cannot fill the gap of the public sector are overdone. The economy has already generated 343,000 new private sector jobs in the first half of this year, and by the growth numbers published today, it appears that this trend will continue.
"Even using pre-crisis measures of trend growth, GDP running at 0.8% a quarter is above trend."
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