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UK Economy grows less than expected

Britain’s economy grew less than expected in the first quarter of 2017, according to preliminary numbers from the ONS released on Friday.
GDP grew by just 0.3% in the quarter, while on an annual basis the figure was 2.1%.

Prior to the release economists had forecast 0.4% growth, representing a slowdown from the 0.7% figure seen in the final quarter of 2016, a number that beat all expectations. Yearly growth was forecast at 2.2%.

The 0.3% growth in the first quarter marks the slowest growth since the beginning of 2016, the ONS said. The slowdown in the British economy in the quarter was largely driven by a drop-off in the dominant services sector, the ONS said.

It should be noted that these figures are preliminary, and could be revised higher or lower in the coming months.

Until the beginning of 2017, the UK economy fared better than all but the most optimistic of forecasters imagined in the immediate aftermath of the Brexit referendum, confounding predictions of an immediate recession, and virtually ignoring any uncertainty over the future.

However, as the falling pound has pushed up inflation in recent months, regular Brits have started to feel the pinch, spending less, and slowing the consumer boom that has fuelled the country’s economic performance in the past handful of years.

Despite disappointing in the quarter, UK GDP has now grown in 17 consecutive quarters. The last time UK GDP shrunk over a quarter came in Q4 of 2012 when the economy readjusted to normality following a huge boost from the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

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