UK may be, "headed towards the bottom of the G7 growth league"

UK economic growth during the last three months of 2017 was less than previously thought according to the final Q4 data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), published today.

ONS said that GDP growth in the fourth quarter of 2017 had been revised down slightly from 0.5% to 0.4%. The change reflected slight downward revisions in services and industrial production growth. There were also small revisions to estimated growth in the first and third quarters of 2017 but these broadly offset each other, ONS said.


Commenting on the revisions, John Hawksworth, PwC chief economist, said:


“Today’s revised data from ONS, bring growth back into line with our machine learning-based forecast of 0.4%, which we made in early January. The overall outcome is that estimated UK growth in 2017 was edged down slightly from 1.8% to 1.7%.


“In the final quarter of the year, spending growth remained modest at 0.3% and business investment was flat, but government spending and private housing investment boosted growth over the last three months.


"The big picture, however, has not changed. The UK economy is still estimated to have slowed markedly in the first half of 2017 as higher inflation - linked primarily to the weaker pound after the Brexit vote - dampened real household spending power.


“This factor continued to dampen consumer spending growth in the second half of 2017, but was offset by a stronger world economy, which boosted UK exports in areas like manufacturing and financial and business services. Government spending also provided some support as the Chancellor eased off on austerity, particularly as regards public investment.


"As a result of these factors, UK growth picked in the second half of 2017 but there are signs that growth may have eased off again in January, so we expect UK growth to remain relatively modest at around 1.5% in 2018 as a whole.


“This would not be disastrous by any means, but would place us towards the bottom of the G7 growth league table together with Italy and Japan, rather than at the top with Germany and the US."



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