Britain's economy grew even less than we thought at the start of 2017

LONDON — Britain’s economy grew just 0.2% in the first quarter of 2017, according to a second estimate from the Office for National Statistics released on Thursday, even lower than the preliminary reading released in late April.

The 0.2% growth in the first quarter marks the slowest growth since the beginning of 2016, the ONS said. The slowdown in the British economy in the quarter was largely driven by a drop-off in the dominant services sector, the ONS said.

“UK GDP growth slowed to 0.2% in Quarter 1 2017 as consumer facing industries such as retail and accommodation fell and household spending slowed. This was partly due to rising prices. Construction and manufacturing also showed little growth, while business services & finance continued to grow strongly,” it said.

Until the beginning of 2017, the UK economy fared better than all but the most optimistic of forecasters imagined in the immediate aftermath of the Brexit referendum, confounding predictions of an immediate recession, and virtually ignoring any uncertainty over the future.

However, as the falling pound has pushed up inflation in recent months, regular Brits have started to feel the pinch, spending less, and slowing the consumer boom that has fuelled the country’s economic performance in the past handful of years.

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