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Growth in advanced countries slows, Britain jumps ahead: OECD

Economic growth in Japan, Germany and Britain picked up strongly in the first quarter of the year, leading output in advanced countries which slowed down overall, the latest OECD data showed on Tuesday.

PARIS: Economic growth in Japan, Germany and Britain picked up strongly in the first quarter of the year, leading output in advanced countries which slowed down overall, the latest OECD data showed on Tuesday.

But the US economy, the biggest in the world, flagged and France also turned in a lagging performance.

Over a full year, Britain led top economies, growing by 3.1 per cent, far outpacing the OECD average.

Growth in the 34 advanced democracies covered by the OECD edged back to 0.4 per cent in the quarter from 0.5 per cent in the last quarter of last year.

The latest OECD-area quarterly data is in line with recent signals that the recovery from the financial and eurozone debt crisis is sluggish and fragile, although some countries are pulling firmly ahead.

In the 18-member eurozone, growth was low but steady at 0.2 per cent, although in the broader 28-member European Union growth slowed to 0.3 per cent from 0.4 per cent.

The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, a policy forum for its members, said that its latest quarterly data "masks a wide spectrum of growth rates across countries."

But on a quarterly basis, growth of gross domestic product accelerated "strongly" in Japan to 1.5 per cent from 1.0 per cent in the previous quarter.

In Germany, the growth rate doubled to 0.8 per cent.

"The United Kingdom also showed a strong growth of 0.8 per cent, following a growth rate of 0.7 per cent in the fourth quarter."

In the United States and France, the rate of growth was almost flat. In the previous quarter, the US economy had grown by 0.7 per cent and the French economy by 0.2 per cent.

The Italian economy went into reverse in the first quarter, shrinking by 0.1 per cent after growing by 0.1 per cent in the previous quarter.

However, on a 12-month comparison, the OECD-area economy grew by 2.1 per cent, and this showed a slight improvement from 2.0 per cent in the last quarter of last year.

Among the top seven economies, Britain led the way with 12-month growth of 3.1 per cent, followed by Japan with 2.7 per cent, and with Italy being the only country to show contraction, of 0.5 per cent.

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