IMF cuts British growth forecast after weak first quarter

FILE - In this Wednesday, July 19, 2017 file photo, British Prime Minister Theresa May leaves 10 Downing Street in London. May called a snap election in a bid to strengthen her hand in EU negotiations. Instead, voters stripped May's Conservatives of their parliamentary majority, severely denting her authority - and her ability to hold together a party split between its pro-and anti-EU wings. Since then, there has been a disunited British government, and an increasingly impatient EU. Officials of the bloc have slammed British proposals so far as vague and inadequate. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

LONDON — The International Monetary Fund has revised down its 2017 growth forecast for the British economy following a weak first quarter that suggested the country's exit from the European Union was starting to weigh on consumers and businesses.

In an update to its April forecasts, the IMF lowered its 2017 growth forecast by 0.3 percentage point to 1.7 percent following weaker than anticipated first quarter figures. During the first three months of the year, the British economy expanded by only 0.2 percent, lower than any other Group of Seven economy.

In contrast, the IMF upgraded its forecasts for Europe's main economies, such as Germany and France.

Despite the IMF's downgrade, Britain's projected growth is just shy of the eurozone's expected 1.9 percent growth.

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