Belfast Telegraph

Figures to show economic slowdown in final months of 2010

The economy suffered a marked slowdown in growth in the final three months of last year, official figures released tomorrow are expected to show as the Governor of the Bank of England, Mervyn King, prepares to make a speech tomorrow at a time of harsh criticism of the Bank's ability to control inflation. The Prime Minister, David Cameron, has recently expressed his "concern" about price rises.

Having expanded by 0.7% in the period from July to September and 1.1% in the second quarter of 2010, most economists expect growth in the last 12 weeks of the year to slow again, with the typical prediction being a modest 0.4% expansion in GDP.

That would bring growth for 2010 to 1.6%, after a fall of 4.9% in 2009 and 0.1% in 2008. Such a performance would be broadly in line with the latest estimates from the Office for Budget Responsibility, and a significantly better result than widely predicted at the start of the year.

However, the impact of the snow will make the preliminary estimates by the Office for National Statistics unusually tentative and they have, in any case, been significantly revised in the past.

As with the cold snap at the start of 2010, it will also take time to see if the potential loss of output in late 2010 is made up in the first months of 2011.