Britain’s economy slowed at the start of this year, apparently effected by reduced global growth and uncertainty ahead of the referendum on the UK’s European membership.
Between January and March gross domestic product grew by 0.4 percent, down from the previous quarter’s 0.6 percent according to the Office for National Statistics.
Growth in the first three months of the year was driven solely by the services sector, which is the biggest component of the UK economy, but even that was less robust.
Industrial production declined, linked to weaker manufacturing and oil output, as did construction.
Output in the three months to March was 2.1 percent higher than a year earlier, matching the fourth quarter’s growth rate that was also the weakest since the third quarter of 2013, but it was still slightly stronger than expected by economists.
While consumer demand – a key pillar of British economic growth – has remained broadly solid, retail sales dropped at the joint-fastest rate in March since January 2014, adding to signs of a slowdown.