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Economy 'likely grew' in first quarter


Bank of England policymaker expects normal economic growth to resume in medium term

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The UK "more than likely" showed growth in the first quarter of the year, a Bank of England policymaker said on Friday.

Martin Weale told the Bath Chronicle that he expected normal economic growth to resume over the medium term, but added this would not make up the ground lost over the past four years.

Weale's comments came after minutes to the Bank's March meeting showed he voted with the majority of the 9-member Monetary Policy Committee to leave its £325 billion quantitative easing programme on hold, while his colleagues Adam Posen and David Miles wanted a £25 billion increase.

Weale said he thought Britain would skirt recession, and see some growth in the first three months of this year, though activity could be volatile later in the year.

"In the first quarter of this year things have been better than I'd anticipated. I think it's more likely than not that growth will be positive," he said.

"Looking ahead, we'll have quite a bit of disruption to the data because first we have the Diamond Jubilee, then the Olympics. The numbers, I'm sure, will jump around and it will be difficult to know what to make of them until we have a more stable picture late this year, and maybe not until the first quarter of next year," he said.

"Over the medium term I do expect what I'd call normal economic growth to be resumed, but normal economic growth is very different to making up the ground we've lost over the past four years," he explained.

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