GDP growth across the UK is likely to be confirmed at 0.4 per cent quarter-on-quarter in the first three months of 2016, when official numbers are released tomorrow (Wednesday).

This would be down from 0.6 per cent quarter-on-quarter in the final three months of 2015 – the equal weakest performance since the fourth quarter of 2012.

Annual GDP growth is expected to be confirmed stable at 2.1% in the first quarter of 2016, which was the lowest rate since the third quarter of 2013. It was down from 2.2% in the third quarter of 2015, 2.6% in the first quarter of 2015 and a peak of 3.0% in the second quarter of 2014.

Economy watchers expect GDP growth could well be limited to 0.2 per cent quarter-on-quarter in the April-June period. But the possibility that growth could prove to be more resilient has been lifted by decent retail sales growth in April and an improved CBI industrial trends survey for May.

Global Insight economist HOWARD ARCHER warns that there is a real risk that the economy may not bounce back that well in the second half of 2016 even if there is a vote to stay in the EU – there is the danger that caution among businesses and consumers could persist following a likely very weak second quarter.


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