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British firms report weakest growth since April 2013

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LONDON British businesses reported their weakest growth in nearly six years during the past three months due to fears of a no-deal Brexit and rising global trade barriers, the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) said yesterday.

The CBI's index of private sector activity over the past three months dropped to -3 last month from zero in January.

This was its lowest since April 2013, when Britain was still recovering from the global financial crisis. Firms expect similar weakness in the three months ahead, when Britain is due to leave the European Union after over 40 years of membership.

Prime Minister Theresa May has yet to win Parliament's support for a Brexit transition deal although she has paved the way for a possible delay to Brexit beyond its scheduled date of March 29.

"More and more companies are hitting the brakes on investment, and day-to-day business decisions are becoming increasingly problematic," the CBI's chief economist, Ms Rain Newton-Smith, said.- REUTERS