23 February, 2017
The renewed weakness this year of surveys of export orders suggests that net trade will not make a large positive contribution to GDP growth over the coming quarters.
But the figures also revealed slowing consumer spending - which accounts for about two-thirds of the economy - as well as a 1% fall in business investment spending by cautious firms.
Britain's economy picked up speed in the final three months of previous year, but a downward annual revision has lost the United Kingdom its title as the fastest growing country in the G7. "However since Brexit, the demand for real estate has softened and it is unlikely that developers will immediately pass on the higher inflationary costs to the end customer".
This marks the 16th consecutive quarter of growth for that sector of the economy. "A slowdown in GDP growth in 2017 therefore now looks inevitable".
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"But retail sales fell in January, the housing market got off to a lacklustre start in 2017, and rising inflation is beginning to exert a toll". Hope for growth to continue at a reasonable pace rests on the shoulders of manufacturing, let's hope they are broad enough. This was the result of statisticians downgrading growth during earlier periods of a year ago.
John Hawksworth, chief economist at PwC, said the ONS data was a mixed bag of good and bad news, but he said this did not change the fact the United Kingdom continued to grow steadily in the six months following the Brexit vote.
"However, there were some signs that Brexit uncertainty is starting to have some impact on the corporate sector, with business investment down during the last three months, combined with slower growth in consumer spending". "We also need to acknowledge that a big driver of United Kingdom growth in Q4 last year came from consumption, but with prices on the rise consumers may start to rein in spending, something we've already seen in the drop in retail sales at the beginning of this year".