U.K. gross domestic product (GDP) expanded slower than expected in the first quarter, in the last major economic indicator before the country’s general election in nine days’ time.
A first estimate from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) showed that GDP grew by 0.3 percent quarter-on-quarter, below a forecast of 0.5 percent, according to a poll of analysts by Reuters.
Although services output increased by 0.5 percent over the period, the headline figures was pulled down by the three other main sectors. Construction fell by 1.6 percent, production slid 0.1 percent and agriculture fell by 0.2 percent, the ONS said.
The data will not be welcomed by U.K. Prime Minister, David Cameron, who has made the strength of the economy a key part of his campaign ahead of a general election on May 7. Sterling fell to $1.5185 after the data.
Responding to the data, Cameron and U.K. Finance Minister, George Osborne, said the economy was still growing, but that the recovery could not be taken for granted.