UK development slowed sharply within the closing three months of 2018 as Brexit anxiousness weighed on shoppers and companies, official figures revealed on Monday are anticipated to point out.
Metropolis economists estimate that financial development halved to simply 0.3% within the fourth quarter of final 12 months, in contrast with 0.6% development within the third quarter.
If confirmed by the Workplace for Nationwide Statistics, it will be the slowest development for the reason that first quarter of 2018 when GDP elevated by simply 0.1%.
Philip Shaw, chief economist at Investec, mentioned development in December alone is more likely to have flatlined.
“Placing the items collectively, we’re forecasting GDP to have remained unchanged in December, though it’s doable that we see a really small acquire,” he mentioned. “This ends in a 0.3% rise [for the fourth quarter].
“We are going to look intently at enterprise funding – the realm which we contemplate to be probably the most affected by Brexit worries – and particularly to see if it recorded its fourth consecutive quarterly decline within the fourth quarter.”
Final week, the Financial institution of England left rates of interest on maintain and mentioned it anticipated UK development in 2019 to be the slowest for the reason that depths of the monetary disaster a decade in the past, blaming mounting Brexit uncertainty and the worldwide slowdown.
Policymakers at Threadneedle Avenue sharply lowered their forecasts for development in 2019 to 1.2% from a earlier estimate of 1.7%. The forecast for 2020 was revised all the way down to 1.5% from 1.7%.
Decrease development within the UK would comply with an identical sample in a few of the eurozone’s largest economies. Italy went into recession within the fourth quarter, and fears are mounting that Germany – Europe’s largest economic system – may need suffered the identical destiny.
In barely higher information for shoppers, knowledge revealed on Wednesday is predicted to point out UK inflation slowed to a two-year low of two% in January, from 2.1% in December, because the impression of Ofgem’s power worth cap feeds by.
The final time inflation was decrease was in January 2017, when it was 1.8%. It might additionally mark the primary time inflation was bang on the Financial institution of England’s official 2% goal since December 2013.
Inflation has steadily fallen over the previous 12 months, having risen sharply within the aftermath of the 2016 Brexit vote because the sharp drop within the worth of the pound pushed up the worth of products and providers imported from overseas. The headline annual charge peaked at 3.1% in November 2017.
The autumn in inflation has eased the squeeze in UK residing requirements, which had been in decline for a lot of the interval since 2008 because the rise in the price of residing outpaced wage development.
Common family incomes are now not falling in actual phrases, with common pay development (excluding bonuses) of three.3% year-on-year between September and November 2018, simply outpacing inflation.
Nevertheless, the newest studies recommend that customers are usually not within the temper to decide to massive purchases, unsure about what impression Brexit could have on the economic system and their private funds. UK home costs fell 2.9% in January, in keeping with the mortgage lender Halifax as Brexit fears postpone consumers; new automobile gross sales fell 1.6% in the identical month.
Retail gross sales figures for January to be revealed on Friday will provide the newest perception on the willingness of shoppers to spend cash on non-essential gadgets within the run-up to Brexit.