'Meagre' GDP growth as consumers remain weak

The UK economy grew a meagre 0.5% in the first three months of this year, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has revealed.

Financial analysts have said that the report contained no real surprises. Although the construction sector was weaker than estimated, manufacturing and services grew, while the output of the distribution, hotels and restaurants industries increased by 0.8 per cent in Q1 of 2011, compared with a decrease of 0.2 per cent in Q4 in 2010.

The improvement in exports was “reassuring”. However they warned that continuing export growth is not assured, as it is largely dependent on global economic growth, which has shown signs of moderating, particularly in the eurozone, where forms the largest market for UK exports.

Chris Williamson, director and chief Economist at Markit, said: “The consumer remains the weakest link - confirming the rather dismal picture of household moral portrayed by recent surveys. The ongoing downbeat mood among households in the second quarter, added to the slower growth of demand in export markets, suggests that economic growth will remain subdued at best.”

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