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Growth slows in US, UK in first quarter but stable elsewhere: OECD

The latest provisional growth figures from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) showed that growth in the OECD region as a whole was stable in the first quarter but confirmed that growth in some major economies was slowing.

Growth of real gross domestic product (GDP) in the OECD area was unchanged at 0.4 percent in the first quarter of 2016 but diverging growth patterns were evident in major economies, according to the economic organization on Monday. In the U.K. and U.S., for example, growth decelerated to 0.4 percent and 0.1 percent, respectively in the first quarter, compared with 0.6 percent and 0.3 percent in the previous quarter.

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The OECD is an international economic organization of 34 countries including much of Europe, the U.K. U.S., Australia, Canada, Japan, Mexico and Turkey among others. It was set up in 1961 with the aim of promoting economic growth, prosperity and sustainable development. It also works with non-member countries to achieve those aims.

The OECD noted that its provisional estimates showed that growth remained volatile in Japan with GDP rebounding strongly (up 0.4 percent) following the contraction of 0.4 percent in the previous quarter.

In the European Union and the euro area GDP growth also picked up, to 0.5 percent, compared with 0.4 percent and 0.3 percent, respectively in the previous quarter.

Year-on-year, however, GDP growth for the OECD area slowed to 1.8 percent in the first quarter of 2016, down from 2.0 percent in the previous quarter, the organization noted.

And among the major seven economies, the U.K. and U.S. continued to record the highest annual growth rates, with 2.1 percent year-on-year GDP growth and 1.9 percent respectively.

Data released last month by the U.S. Labor Department showed that U.S. economic growth braked sharply in the first quarter to its slowest pace in two years as consumer spending softened and a strong dollar continued to undercut exports.

The department said in its advance estimate at the end of April that GDP increased at a 0.5 percent annual rate, the slowest since the first quarter of 2014.

Likewise, U.K. data for the first quarter showed a slowdown in growth amid concerns that a forthcoming vote on the country's membership of the European Union is scaring investors and industry. Preliminary estimates from the country's Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed that first-quarter growth slowed to 0.4 percent in the first quarter, from 0.6 percent in the previous quarter. Year-on-year, the economy grew 2.1 percent, the ONS said, matching the OECD's figures.

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