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Brexit's toll: U.K. economy at weakest since financial crisis

Amid mounting uncertainty over Brexit, the British economy slowed last year to its weakest growth rate since 2012 in the aftermath of the global financial crisis, official figures released Monday show.The Office for National Statistics said the British economy grew by only 0.2 per cent during the fourth quarter, down from the 0.6 per cent tick recorded in the previous three-month period. Output actually fell in the month of December by 0.4 per cent from the month before.Over 2018 as a whole, the economy grew by 1.4 per cent, its lowest rate since 2009, when it contracted by 4.2 per cent in the wake of the global financial crisis that had brought much of the world's banking system to its knees.Last week, the Bank of England chopped its forecast for growth this year by 0.5 percentage points to 1.2 per cent, which would be the weakest year since the 2009 recession. Statisticians did not directly blame Brexit for the slowdown but there is plenty of evidence showing that the uncertainties relating to the country's departure from the European Union are weighing heavily on economic activity, particularly business investment. Firms have no clear idea of what the country's trading relationship with the EU will look like after the scheduled Brexit date of March 29.The statistics agency's head of GDP figures, Rob Kent-Smith, said the slowdown in the last three months of the year was particularly "steep" in car manufacturing and steel production, offset by continued growth in the services sector, which makes ...Read more

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