UK Growth Downgrade Possible After Run of Weak Figures

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A day after the Bank of England hinted that it could raise interest rates faster than many expected, a run of economic figures on Friday suggest the British economy did not end 2017 as strongly as previously thought, the International New York Times reported on an Associated Press story. Official figures showed a 1.3 percent monthly decline in industrial production in December and a 4.9 billion-pound ($6.9 billion) trade deficit for goods and services, its worst since September 2016. Though construction output was stronger than anticipated, expanding by 1.6 percent during the month, some economists say that the figures could lead to economic growth being revised down. "Today's data reinforces the message that the U.K. continues to underperform other developed market economies, growing at around half the rate of the U.S. and the eurozone," said James Knightley, chief international economist at ING. "As such, while the Bank of England is clearly hinting at the potential for a May rate hike, we remain cautious on the longer term path for rates, particularly given the Brexit-related uncertainty." Read more. (Subscription required.)