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Softer retail figures slow down Britain's economic growth
2017/3/13 14:47:51 Source:Xinhua

LONDON, March 10 (Xinhua) -- Softer retail figures towards the end of last year and the beginning of this year have led to a fall in the rate of Britain's economic growth, showed data released on Friday.

The National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR) released its rolling three-month GDP forecast, which showed Britain's GDP grew by 0.6 percent between December and February.

This is 0.2 percentage points lower than the figure for November to January released last month.

Rebecca Piggott, a research fellow at NIESR, told Xinhua that the fall was "mostly driven by retail sales, which are weaker than last month, and production was not very strong."

"Robust consumer spending growth has supported the economic expansion throughout 2016, but there are now signs that this support is beginning to soften."

Piggott said the consumer price inflation (CPI) is expected to continue to increase throughout the rest of 2017, further reducing the contribution from consumer spending to economic growth.

The immediate impact of the Brexit vote saw foreign exchange markets sell sterling, resulting in a significant fall in the currency against the U.S. dollar and others.

On the day of the Brexit vote, sterling traded at 1.48 U.S. dollars and now trades at 1.22 dollars. This has made the country's exports more competitive, but increased prices of imports and of commodities -- an effect which is now driving the momentum of CPI rate increase.

A key question is by how much and over what period of time this domestic economic weakness can be offset via contributions of net trade, said Piggott.

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