BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The British economy will pay higher costs this year and next for the uncertainty created by its vote to leave the European Union, the EU economics commissioner said on Thursday, though he recognized Britain had so far fared well since the referendum.
Britain’s gross domestic product rose at a quarterly rate of 0.6 percent between October and December, the country’s Office for National Statistics said earlier on Thursday, maintaining the above-average pace seen in the first three months after June’s Brexit referendum.
“The uncertainty will have a more tangible effect on the British economy in 2017 and 2018,” Pierre Moscovici told a conference in Brussels, after acknowledging that Britain had performed better than expected in the immediate aftermath of the Brexit vote.
His remarks confirmed earlier forecasts by the executive European Commission that showed Britain’s GDP growth would halve this year.
The Commission forecast in November that Britain’s GDP would increase by 1.9 percent in 2016, but that growth would nearly halve in 2017 to 1.0 percent. That is much lower than the 1.9 percent estimated last May by the Commission, which issues three economic forecasts a year.
In preliminary estimates, released in July in the immediate aftermath of the Brexit vote, the Commission had predicted a much more acute slowdown for the British economy, saying that a recession was seen as possible this year in the worst scenario.
Reporting by Francesco Guarascio; Editing by Gareth Jones
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