UK economy ends 2019 on back foot as Brexit turmoil takes it toll

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According to the first estimate from the Office for National Statistics, the UK’s gross domestic product was flat in the fourth quarter, in line with forecasts, against revised growth of 0.5% in the third quarter.

Year-on-year, fourth-quarter GDP rose 1.1% down, from a revised 1.2% in the previous three months.

However, the first estimate for December’s GDP showed that it grew by 0.3%, compared to a 0.3% decline a month previously. That figure was slightly above expectations.

Overall, the ONS said that for the whole of 2019, GDP grew by 1.4%. That was a slight improvement on 2018, but remains one of the slowest rates of growth since the financial crisis.

Rob Kent-Smith, head of GDP at the ONS, said: “There was no growth in the last quarter of 2019, as increases in the services and construction sectors were offset by another poor showing from manufacturing, particularly the motor industry.”

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