Jan. 12 (Bloomberg) -- The U.K. economy barely expanded in the fourth quarter, with growth in 2011 slowing to half the pace of the previous year, the National Institute of Economic and Social Research said.
Gross domestic product probably rose 0.1 percent, compared with growth of 0.3 percent in the three months through November, Niesr, whose clients include the Bank of England and the U.K. Treasury, said in an e-mailed statement in London today. The economy grew 0.6 percent in the third quarter.
The economy probably expanded by 1 percent last year, down from 2.1 percent growth in 2010, Niesr said.
“It is welcome news that Niesr are estimating continued growth in the economy and there are reasons to be optimistic,” the Treasury said in a statement, citing surveys suggesting the services and construction industries strengthened last month.
“But we have to remember this is one estimate from one forecaster, and we should be realistic about the risks,” it added. “The uncertainty in the euro area continues to have a chilling effect on the U.K. as well as elsewhere.’
The Bank of England kept its target for bond purchases at 275 billion pounds today ($422 billion). Citigroup Inc. and Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc are among banks saying it will increase the target next month when the current round of purchases end.
--Editors: Andrew Atkinson, Fergal O’Brien
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