UK Economy Slows to 0.4% as Manufacturing and Construction Output Declines

Office for National Statistics says there is “no evidence” that the upcoming EU referendum is linked to the economic slowdown

UK Economy Slows to 0.4% as Manufacturing and Construction Output Declines

The UK’s economic growth slowed in the first quarter of 2016 with productivity in the manufacturing and construction industries declining, according to latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The report found that gross domestic product (GDP) grew by just 0.4% between January and March of this year, compared to 0.6% in the fourth quarter with construction and manufacturing output declining by 0.9% and 0.4% respectively.

Despite the negative trend, the 0.4% rate of growth marks the 13th consecutive quarter of positive growth – with the services sector, the largest sector in the economy, growing by 0.6%

The ONS has dismissed suggestions that the economic slowdown is linked to the upcoming Brexit referendum saying there is “no evidence” for such claims.

Samuel Tombs, Pantheon Macroeconomics chief UK economist, said of the findings:

“Concerns about Brexit likely played a role in the first quarter slowdown and they probably will take a greater toll on GDP growth in the second quarter. But the downward trend in GDP growth since 2014 suggests that the EU referendum cannot be blamed for all of the economy’s ills.”

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