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NatWest Comments on Q1 GDP Figures

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Comment from NatWest Economist Sebastian Burnside on Q1 GDP figures:

“The UK economy grew by just 0.3% in the first 3 months of 2017. Slower than the 0.5% expected by the Bank of England. Slower than the 0.7% we managed at the end of last year. But it might just be the start of a more sustainable pace of growth.

“It was weaker consumer spending that contributed much to the slowdown and it looks like the squeeze on real incomes is now starting to bite.  Inflation is now matching wage growth, meaning the purchasing power of people’s pay packets has stopped growing.

“Slower growth is the result of that squeeze, but could be better than the alternative. Fighting inflation would mean borrowing continuing to accelerate, with credit card and personal loan debt already growing around 10% a year.

“Whilst these figures are for the UK as a whole we know that growth is very uneven across the UK.  Business confidence in Wales has made a strong start to the year and cities like Swansea have managed to raise employment by more than 10% in the last three years.”