Sluggish exports blamed for slowest UK growth since 2012

Britain's struggle to boost exports dragged down overall growth in the economy in the first quarter of this year. The Office for National Statistics confirmed growth of 0.3%, the slowest pace since the end of 2012 and unrevised from the previous estimate. Trade was a key issue, knocking 0.9 percentage points off the headline rate as imports rose sharply while exports edged down. However, most economists remain upbeat on the outlook for the UK. Martin Beck, senior economic adviser to the EY Item Club, said he remained 'confident that, with the tailwinds offered by very low inflation and borrowing costs and high levels of consumer and business confidence, growth should accelerate over the course of the year'. The main positive news was a rebound in investment spending, which grew 1.5% quarter-on-quarter, more than reversing the 0.6% decline at the end of last year, and a solid rise in private consumption of 0.5%.


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