Britain has slumped to the bottom of Europe’s economic growth league.
At 0.2%, its GDP growth rate in the first quarter (compared with the previous quarter) was the lowest seen across all 28 members of the European Union, according to data released by Eurostat on Thursday.
The U.K. performed weaker even than Greece, a country that was at risk of slipping into recession at the end of 2016.
The disappointing data came as a surprise to economists. Based on preliminary estimates, the U.K. was thought to have matched Italy’s performance and come in ahead of Greece in the first three months of 2017.
Most countries saw their numbers revised higher since the first estimates were released.
The U.K., however, suffered a downgrade of 0.1%, and its first quarter performance represents a sharp slowdown from expansion of 0.7% in the final quarter of 2016.
“The resilience of the U.K. economy to Brexit suffered a major blow in the first quarter,” said Raj Badiani, economist at IHS Markit.
“[The slump] was partly triggered by the start of a more subdued phase of consumer spending, with increased household stress pushing back the recent gains of several years of high employment and improved purchasing power over much of 2016,” he added.
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