April 11, 2018 / 11:24 AM / 10 months ago

Bad weather cut GDP growth to +0.2 percent in first quarter - NIESR estimate

A walker crosses a snow-covered Clapham Common in London, Britain, March 18, 2018. REUTERS/Hannah McKay

LONDON (Reuters) - Heavy snow in late February and early March is likely to have caused British economic growth to halve in the first three months of the year to 0.2 percent, the National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR) said on Wednesday.

Official figures showed the economy grew 0.4 percent in the last three months of 2017. February factory and construction data released earlier on Wednesday were weak, and first-quarter gross domestic product data is due on April 27.

“We estimate that economic growth nudged lower to 0.2 percent in the first quarter of 2018. The main reason for the weakness was severe weather in March which is likely to have disrupted activity in all major sectors,” NIESR economist Amit Kara said.

Past experience of snowy weather in 2010 also suggested early estimates of GDP were likely to be revised more than normal, he added.

Reporting by David Milliken, editing by Andy Bruce

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