Bank of England to steady growth expectations this week

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Mark Carney has estimate economic growth among mixed financial

Mark Carney will present the latest Inflation Report on Thursday, a document which shows the Bank’s latest growth and inflation predictions as well as outlining any risks to the economy.

Officials were wrong-footed by the Brexit vote last year, predicting a sharp slowdown but then being forced to hike their predictions in November and in February as the economy grew more quickly than expected.

Growth slowed in the first three months of the year as GDP slowed from 0.7pc in the final quarter of 2016 to 0.3pc in the first quarter of 2017, in part as higher prices hit consumer spending.

But a continued rise in employment combined with strong business surveys has convinced economists that the poor numbers were just a blip.

Independent economists have increased forecasts for 2017 growth modestly since February, raising their GDP predictions from 1.6pc to 1.7pc, while cutting their unemployment forecasts from 5.2pc to 5pc.

However, the same set of forecasts – made by private sector economists and compiled by the Treasury – also shows they anticipate a slowdown into 2018, as they have cut their growth forecasts for next year from 1.4pc to 1.3pc.

The difficulty of analysing the state of the economy was underlined today with the publication of two conflicting sets of data.

According to Visa’s consumer spending index, household spending growth slowed last month, rising by just 0.5pc April compared with the same period of 2016.

Hammond insists UK economy is resilient as growth slumps 01:02

That is down from 1pc in the 12 months to March and is one of the slowest rates of growth seen in three years.

By contrast business confidence is on the rise, with the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales’s (ICAEW) index monitoring sentiment rising into positive territory for the first time since the middle of 2016.

That improvement comes particularly in the finance and business sectors, as well as information technology, utilities and manufacturing, though retailers remain more gloomy.

“It’s encouraging to see that confidence is starting to rise after a sustained period of decline,” said the ICAEW’s director of business Stephen Ibbotson.

“Yet against this improved sentiment, businesses are not investing in staff and wages and may well be waiting to see what happens in the political arena, particularly in relation to how EU negotiations play out.”

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