Belfast Telegraph

Bank to halt rate rises as data slows

By Holly Williams

The Bank of England is expected to hold fire on hiking interest rates next week, putting off its long-anticipated increase after economic growth almost ground to a halt.

Economists have pushed back their expectations for another rate increase to at least August - and possibly not until 2019 - after recent official figures showed the economy grew at its slowest pace in five years in the first quarter.

Gross domestic product (GDP) slowed sharply to 0.1%, down from 0.4% in the previous three months as the impact of the 'Beast from the East' compounded woes in consumer-facing and construction sectors.

And there are fears that the first quarter slowdown may not just be a weather-related blip, with official data revealing more widespread weakness.

A lower than expected purchasing managers index (PMI) reading for the services sector in April followed the lowest manufacturing reading for 17 months and reports of subdued construction demand.

Belfast Telegraph

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