As long as growth continues into the second half of the year – which is highly likely – we’ll be entering the tenth year of economic recovery. The question on everyone’s lips (and fear in their hearts) is when will the real downturn start in earnest – when, not if.

Britain’s factories suffered an unexpected drop in output during February, marking the first fall for nearly a year and fuelling fears of a slowdown in the wider economy. Now the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said that manufacturing output dropped 0.2% month on month in February, while a downward revision to previous data showed it also stagnated in January. Official figures also revealed another sharp drop in the construction sector, marking the largest annual fall since March 2013. These worrying figures fuelled suspicion that GDP growth likely slowed to 0.3% quarter-on-quarter in the first quarter and that the downturn is around the corner.


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