The British economy has performed less strongly than expected and a crisis in the euro zone will constrain growth for several years, finance minister George Osborne said in a budget update to Parliament on Wednesday. The economy will grow 1.2% next year and 2.0% in 2014, according to revised projections from the Office for Budget Responsibility, Osborne said. 2015 and 2016 forecasts were revised down to 2.3 and 2.7% respectively. In March, the government’s forecasting body said the economy was set to grow 2.0% next year, and accelerate to 2.7% in 2014, and to 3.0% in the following two years. A Reuters poll taken last month predicted growth of 1.1%next year and 1.7% in 2014. “It’s taking time, but the British economy is healing,” Osborne said.
Euro zone retail sales fall 1.2% in October
Retail sales across the 17 European Union countries that use the euro slumped in October, putting new pressure on the European Central Bank to cut borrowing rates this week. Eurostat, the EU's statistics office, said Wednesday that eurozone retail sales fell 1.2% in October from the previous month, double September’s decline and substantially more than the 0.2% drop analysts expected. The figures provide further evidence that households remain gloomy over the economy. The eurozone is back into recession, officially defined as two straight quarters of falling output. Wednesday’s figures come a day before the ECB meets to decide on whether to cut its main interest rate from the record low of
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