March 13, 2018 / 1:28 PM / 9 months ago

UK budget watchdog pencils in 37.1 billion pound Brexit bill

Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond leaves 11 Downing Street in London, March 12, 2018. REUTERS/Simon Dawson

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain’s government budget watchdog said on Tuesday it estimated the cost of settling Britain’s outstanding liabilities to the European Union would be 37.1 billion pounds ($51.8 billion), three quarters of which would fall due in the next five years.

The Office for Budget Responsibility also said the British current account deficit remained large and was likely to fall only slowly, leaving the country vulnerable to a drop in investor confidence if there were a disorderly Brexit.

The economy was growing faster than its long-run potential, adding to inflation pressure, the OBR added.

“On the basis of the latest information, we judge that the economy was operating slightly above potential in the fourth quarter of 2017 – by 0.3 percent. This is 0.2 percentage points higher than we judged in November,” it said.

($1 = 0.7160 pounds)

Reporting by David Milliken; editing by David Stamp

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