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The UK economic outlook for 2013 has remained fairly stable since our last update in 2H12, with little change to our (earlier) GDP growth expectations of 0.8% per annum (p.a.). The economy posted growth of just 0.3% p.a. in 2012, which was better than expectations of -0.5% p.a. in 2H12.Performance during 2H12 was polarized with strong GDP growth reported in 3Q12 due to a boost from the London Olympics and other temporary factors, followed by stagnation in 4Q12. Looking beyond this year, modest growth compared to history is expected to return in 2014, with 1.2% p.a. forecast. Fiscal policy pressures are likely to act as a drag on growth, although the political uncertainty in the eurozone seems to have settled since ECB president Mario Draghi's call to do "whatever it takes" to preserve the euro in July last year.
The brightest news for the UK economy has been the stronger than expected UK labour market in 2012. Between October and December in both 2011 and 2012, there was a rise of 394,000 in the number of people working full-time – the largest annual increase since 2005 – and an additional 190,000 working parttime. However, it is unlikely that the strength of the UK labour market will continue throughout 2013.
Source : UBS AG