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UK GDP Growth Slows More Than Expected In Q4

UK economic growth slowed more-than-expected in the fourth quarter of 2018, and the full year growth was the weakest since 2009, preliminary figures from the Office For National Statistics showed on Monday.

Gross domestic product grew 0.2 percent from the third quarter, when the economy expanded 0.6 percent. Economists had expected the pace of growth to halve to 0.3 percent.

On a year-on-year basis, GDP rose 1.3 percent in the fourth quarter, which was the weakest pace since the second quarter of 2012. In the third quarter, annual growth was 1.6 percent. Economists had expected growth of 1.4 percent.

"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," ONS Head of GDP Rob Kent-Smith said.

"However, services continued to grow with the health sector, management consultants and IT all doing well."

Economic growth in the full year 2018 was 1.4 percent, which was the weakest since 2009.

GDP decreased 0.4 percent in the month of December, while economists had expected stagnation.

Construction, production and services output fell in December, the first time that there has been such a broad-based fall in monthly output since September 2012, the ONS said.

In the fourth quarter, private consumption grew 0.4 percent sequentially, which was slightly faster than the 0.3 percent gain economists had forecast.

Government spending rose 1.4 percent, which was also a biggest gain than the 0.5 percent increase economists had predicted.

Gross fixed capital formation shrunk 0.5 percent, which worse than the 0.2 percent decline economists had expected.

Exports grew 0.9 percent and imports rose 1.3 percent. Both were expected to increase 1 percent each.

Business investment decreased 1.4 percent sequentially, which was a more severe fall than the 1 percent decline economists had predicted.

Separately, the ONS released foreign trade, production and services data for December.

The total trade deficit for December was GBP 3.2 billion, which was slightly bigger than the GBP 3.1 billion consensus forecast.

The visible trade deficit was GBP 12.1 billion versus the consensus forecast of GBP 11.95 billion.

In December, industrial production decreased 0.5 percent month-on-month, which was in contrast to expectations for a modest gain of 0.1 percent.

Manufacturing output shrunk 0.7 percent, while it was expected to grow 0.2 percent.

Construction output tumbled 2.8 percent month-on-month, defying expectations for a modest 0.1 percent increase.

The index of services decreased 0.2 percent monthly, while it was expected to remain unchanged.

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