Commenting on the GDP data published today, Ms Lee Hopley, Chief Economist at EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation, said:
“In line with expectations it’s been a fairly subdued start to the year with survey data giving a clear steer that we were heading for a softer patch. While there is clearly a weakening trend the first estimate is hardly woeful, with manufacturing likely to have seen something of a bounce in March after a disappointing February.
“The extent to which this across the board weakening can be attributed to political uncertainty ahead of the referendum is open to question. The effects of global financial market volatility, stuttering world trade growth and challenges on the high street feel like more obvious explanations for the slowdown. Still, referendum wobbles could make themselves felt in the coming months, highlighting the continuing downside risks for the economy this year”