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UK private sector growth picks up in Q4, but Q1 outlook dull

British private sector growth picked up in the last quarter of 2017, as all sectors posted above-long-run-average growth in output volumes, Confederation of British Industry's monthly survey noted.

The composite growth index for the quarter to December, based on 642 respondents across the distribution, manufacturing and service sectors, reported a rise in output at +19%, compared with +6% in the three months to November.

However, the forward-looking indicator slipped to +4% for the next quarter, compared to +6% in November. The slowdown reflects firms' expectations for growth to stall across the services sector and to slow in distribution and manufacturing, the CBI said.

"Persistent cost pressures will ensure that inflation remains at a high level, perpetuating the squeeze on household spending, particularly impacting consumer-facing firms and retailers," Anna Leach, CBI head of economic intelligence, said.

Annual inflation in the country rose to 3.1% in November, the highest since March 2012 and above the level obliging the Bank of England to write a letter of explanation to the government.