Economists are predicting that the UK economy will remain ‘stable’ this year but growth will be ‘sluggish’. According to forecasts, the economy will expand by 1.6 per cent in 2018 and this will rise to 1.7 per cent in 2019.
Due to a number of reasons including British weather conditions, first-quarter figures for gross domestic product (GDP) are expected to show a small amount of growth of between 0.2 per cent and 0.3 per cent.
In comparison to the last three months of 2017, this figure has dropped as the quarter growth was at 0.4 per cent then. It has also been reported that the most recent figures will show that the retail sector has faced it’s biggest quarterly fall in a year.
As one of the economists explained, the economy is “chugging along” at a fairly steady but uninspiring rate. However, he added that if inflation, which impacted consumer spending last year, continues to fall, there could be an upturn in pay growth.
The forecast is in line with other economists’ predictions and that of the National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR), which have also suggested similar levels of reduced growth.
However, a separate study showed that consumer confidence is returning to its highest level since the end of 2016, although it is still at levels below those seen before the vote to leave the European Union.
This could be seen during the recent mini heatwave in most parts of the UK as sales of sun cream leapt by almost 400 per cent as shoppers planned for 19 April, the warmest April day for almost 70 years.