United Kingdom economy accelerates but still loses fastest in G7 crown

Brexit latest: Growth for final quarter of 2016 revised up to 0.7 per cent

The pound fell after Wednesday's Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures, which no longer showed Britain was the fastest-growing major advanced economy past year.

The British economy picked up its pace of growth in the final three months of 2016, official figures show, but over the whole year, it was weaker than previously estimated and there were signs that the United Kingdom referendum to leave the European Union will increasingly act as a brake on growth in 2017.

On a yearly basis, GDP growth held steady at 2 percent in the fourth quarter.

Nancy Curtin, Chief Investment Officer, said: "The improved GDP revision for the final quarter of 2016 confirms that it was business as usual for the United Kingdom economy, despite the UK's momentous vote to leave the EU".

The second estimate from the ONS, released this morning, shows the joint-fastest quarterly growth rate since 2014.

Separate ONS data showed Britain's dominant services sector expanded in December at the slowest pace in seven months.

The ONS also pointed out that there was a drop in business investment, which fell by one percent in the last quarter.

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This in turn, he said, reduces incentives for increased business investment and hiring in consumer-focused sectors.

Investment by companies was 0.9% lower compared with the fourth quarter of 2015. Firms are expected to decrease their investment plans as Britain negotiates its departure from the EU. Overall household spending rose 0.7% for the quarter following a 0.9% gain in the previous 3-month period.

Britain's economic resilience since last June's European Union referendum has surprised experts, who had predicted that the United Kingdom would be in dire straits if it voted to leave the bloc.

Michael Baxter, economics commentator for the Share Centre, said the United Kingdom growth figures had "confounded the doubters", but said we should expect economic growth to take on a very different shape this year.

There are already signs this has started.

The BoE this month signalled that it is in no hurry to raise interest rates with so much Brexit-related uncertainty ahead.

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