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UK GDP growth for 2015 slows to weakest in nearly three years

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By Euronews  with REUTERS
UK GDP growth for 2015 slows to weakest in nearly three years

Britain’s economy ended 2015 on a soft note as the annual pace of growth slowed to its weakest in nearly three years.

Gross domestic product grew by 2.2 percent, down from 2.9 percent in 2014.

Bank of England Governor Mark Carney said last week that he wanted to see above-average growth and a pick-up in wages before interest rates could be raised.

Economists now don’t expect the UK central bank to put up the cost of borrowing until the tail end of this year.

The economy expanded by 0.5 percent in the final three months of the year, mostly thanks to the services industry which accounts for nearly 80 percent of UK GDP.

Services expanded by 0.7 percent in the fourth quarter, its fastest rate in just over a year, helped by gains in business and financial services.

Consumer demand has remained broadly solid, with previous data showing retail sales enjoying their strongest quarter of growth in a year, bolstered by falling prices in shops and record levels of employment.

Industrial output recorded its first fall since late 2012. Manufacturers have reported being hit by weak foreign demand and the strength of sterling. Mild weather also depressed demand for oil and gas during part of the quarter.

Construction output dropped by 0.1 percent on the quarter after a 1.9 percent fall in the previous three month period.