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23 February 2017, 12:55 | Ignacio Smith
In the final three months of 2016, investment dropped by £400m which is a fall of almost 1 per cent compared to the same quarter in 2015.
The UK economy grew slightly faster than expected in the final three months of the year, although it fared worse than initially forecast over the last 12 months as a whole, according to official figures released on Wednesday (22 February).
But the figures also revealed slowing consumer spending - which accounts for about two-thirds of the economy - as well as a 1% fall in business investment spending by cautious firms.
"With Brexit negotiations afoot and ongoing geopolitical concerns among the G7, the knock-on effect on business confidence may slow the pace of growth this year, both at home and overseas".
Michael Baxter, economics commentator for the Share Centre, said the United Kingdom growth figures had "confounded the doubters", but said we should expect economic growth to take on a very different shape this year. In contrast, there was weaker than expected data on capital spending with preliminary investment spending recording a 1.0% decline for the quarter following a revised 0.4% increase for the previous quarter with weakness in the ICT and machinery sectors. Surveys show business optimism about the year ahead running at its highest in one and a half years, suggesting companies are clearly expecting the good times to continue.
Pantheon Macroeconomics said the upward revision to GDP growth was not a surprise. "On the upside, there was some positive news from trade, with lower imports and stronger export growth leading net trade to make a positive contribution in the quarter". "We also need to acknowledge that a big driver of United Kingdom growth in Q4 last year came from consumption, but with prices on the rise consumers may start to rein in spending, something we've already seen in the drop in retail sales at the beginning of this year". "Meanwhile, business investment fell by 0.1%, and total investment was flat".
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