Growth has slowed to a snail’s pace after the economy suffered from the cold winter, figures are expected to show this week.
The Office for National Statistics is forecast to say that the UK economy grew by as little as 0.2 per cent in the first three months of the year – half the 0.4 per cent growth of the last quarter of 2017.
Howard Archer, chief UK economist at the EY Item Club, predicted growth of 0.2 or 0.3 per cent, adding: ‘All the indications are that the severe weather had a significant impact.’
Growth has slowed to a snail’s pace after the economy suffered from the cold winter
Joanna Davies, UK economist at another consultancy, Fathom, said the figures, due on Friday, may be optimistic. Economic data is often revised as information comes in.
She said: ‘0.3 per cent is our forecast for next week’s release, but it may not reflect the true picture, which we believe could well be weaker. Official figures for the dominant service sector extend only to January, with more timely data pointing to a marked deterioration since then.’
The Item Club has downgraded its expectations for annual growth. Its spring forecast, out tomorrow, will predict growth of 1.6 per cent for the whole of 2018, down from 1.7 per cent three months ago.