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UK will skirt with, but avoid, recession, says British Chambers of Commerce

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The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), a business trade body, has downgraded its growth forecast for the UK, but expects the economy to avoid recession.

In its first forecast since the EU referendum, the BCC said it expects the UK economy to grow 1.8% this year, down from its previous estimate of 2.2% and 1% in 2017 from its original estimate of 2.3%.

Weaker consumer spending and a large fall in investment were the main reasons for the downgrades.

Uncertainty surrounding the UK’s long-term political arrangements with the EU are expected to dampen growth prospects towards the end of 2016 and over 2017, the BCC said.

However, despite these issues, it expects the UK to “skirt with, but avoid, recession” thanks, in part, to the post-referendum slide in sterling which will help improve the UK’s net trade position.

Dr Adam Marshall, acting director general of the BCC, said: “Although individual businesses continue to report strong trading conditions, the overall picture suggests a sharp slowdown in UK growth lies ahead.

“Our forecast suggests that the UK is likely to avoid a recession, but with the health warning that businesses are still digesting the result of June’s EU referendum and the challenges and opportunities to come.”

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