UK growth disappoints as election looms

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.

CNBC

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Craig Erlam
Based in London, England, Craig Erlam joined OANDA in 2015 as a Market Analyst. With more than five years' experience as a financial market analyst and trader, he focuses on both fundamental and technical analysis while conducting macroeconomic commentary. He has been published by The Financial Times, Reuters, the BBC and The Telegraph, and he also appears regularly as a guest commentator on Bloomberg TV, CNBC, FOX Business and BNN. Craig holds a full membership to the Society of Technical Analysts and he is recognized as a Certified Financial Technician by the International Federation of Technical Analysts.