UK economic growth drops to weakest level in six years

The manufacturing of cars and steel products saw steep falls and construction also declined

The UK economy expanded at its slowest annual rate in six years in 2018, dragged down by a weak final quarter.

Growth in the year was 1.4%, down from 1.8% in 2017 and the slowest rate since 2012, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.

GDP fell 0.4% in December, having grown 0.2% in October and November, driven by a drop in construction, production and services output in the final month of the year.

Production growth fell by 1.1% in the final quarter of 2018, while construction growth contracted by 0.3%, the first negative three-month growth since May 2018.

Head of GDP at ONS, Rob Kent-Smith, said: “GDP slowed in the last three months of the year with the manufacturing of cars and steel products seeing steep falls and construction also declining. However, services continued to grow with the health sector, management consultants and IT all doing well.

“Declines were seen across the economy in December, but single month data can be volatile meaning quarterly figures often give a better indication of the health of the economy.

“The UK’s trade deficit widened slightly in the last three months of the year, while business investment again declined, now for the fourth quarter in a row.”

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