UK economy slows in March, fears of a recession grow


LONDON (AP) – The UK economy grew at its slowest pace in a year in the first quarter as retailers and manufacturers were hit by supply disruptions and high prices, raising concerns that the UK could plunge into a recession. .

Gross domestic product (GDP), the broadest measure of economic activity, rose 0.8% over the same period, slowing from 1.3% in the previous quarter, the National Statistical Office said Thursday. Monthly estimates indicate a 0.1% decline in GDP in March.

Paul Dales, UK chief economist at Capital Economics, said: “These figures suggest that the economy has less momentum than we thought, even before the full blow of the cost of living crisis was felt. “The risk of a recession has increased,” he said.

Growth is slowing as manufacturers and retailers struggle to overcome supply bottlenecks after the COVID-19 pandemic and as food and energy prices rise due to the Ukraine war. Retail sales figures show that UK consumers are already cutting back on spending as economists predict the UK will see its biggest decline in living standards in more than 60 years this year.

Thursday’s figures show just how slow the UK’s pandemic recovery has been over the past year.

Economic growth for the fourth straight quarter means GDP is now above pre-pandemic levels for the first time, ONS said.

However, growth in the first quarter was the slowest since the first quarter of 2021, when the economy grew 5.6%.

Treasury Secretary Rishi Sunak attributed the recession to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and “another global challenge”, noting that the UK economy is still growing faster than the US, Germany and Italy.

“The UK economy has recovered quickly from the worst pandemic and our growth has been strong in the first few months of the year, but…

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