UK economy flat-lined in fourth quarter before post-election bounce

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Britain’s economy flat-lined in the final three months of 2019, when the country was in a deadlock over Brexit that was only broken by Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s December election victory, leading to some signs of a recovery early this year.

Official figures released on Tuesday showed zero growth in the fourth quarter compared with the third, matching the median forecast in a Reuters poll of economists.

In annual terms, growth was 1.1%, stronger than the poll forecast of 0.8% after upward revisions to growth in some previous quarters. However, the last time annual growth was weaker for a calendar quarter was in mid-2012.

“This is a mucky figure with the true sense of the UK economy’s performance occluded by the election of December 12,” said Jeremy Thomson-Cook, chief economist at payments provider Equals Group.

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