UK growth in 2017 downgraded as consumer spending slows

Official figures show that the British economy did not grow as strongly as initially anticipated in the final quarter of 2017 amid a slowdown in consumption and business investment.

The Office for National Statistics said Thursday that the British economy expanded by a quarterly rate of 0.4 percent, down from the initial estimate of 0.5 percent.

The downgrade is not huge but confirms that the British economy cooled in 2017, the year after the country voted to leave the European Union. The statistics agency also lowered its 2017 growth estimate to 1.7 percent from the previous 1.8 percent.

Brexit, which is due to happen in March 2019, is still the biggest cloud over the economic horizon this year.