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UK industrial output falls again, trade gap widens sharply as economy slows

  • Author:reuters
  • Source:reuters
  • Release on:2017-05-11
British industrial output shrank for a third month in a row in March, official data showed on Thursday, underscoring how the impact of last year's Brexit vote has begun to weigh on the economy. 

The Office for National Statistics also said Britain's trade deficit widened by more than expected, a further setback for hopes that the fall in the value of the pound since the European Union membership referendum would help rebalance the economy.
For the first quarter as a whole, industrial output only inched up by 0.1 percent and manufacturing growth slowed to 0.3 percent. 

Britain's economy has slowed this year after it initially withstood the shock of the decision by voters to leave the European Union in a referendum in June. 

The slowdown and uncertainty about Britain's future relationship with the EU have added to expectations that the Bank of England will keep interest rates at their record low possibly for another two years. The BoE is due to announce its latest thinking on Britain's economy at 1100 GMT on Thursday. 

Despite the weaker start to the year for the economy, British Prime Minister Theresa May is widely expected to win comfortably a national election she has called for June 8.
Separate data from the ONS showed Britain's goods trade deficit with the rest of the world widened to 13.441 billion pounds, bigger than the median forecast of 11.8 billion pounds in the Reuters poll of economists. 

That took the total trade deficit - including Britain's surplus in services - for the first quarter to 10.540 billion pounds, more than double the shortfall in the fourth quarter. 

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