The UK will narrowly escape a triple-dip recession with economic growth for Q1 forecast to be 0.1%, acccording to the National Institute of Economic and Social Research(NIESR).
However, although the group predicted the UK is growing again, following a 0.3% decline in Q4 2012, it admitted "the economy [was] broadly flat in the first quarter of this year".
It expects growth of just 0.7% for 2013, which is slightly ahead of the Office for Budget Responsibility's forecast of 0.6%.
NIESR said it still believes the UK economy will take seven years to recover from the impact of the financial crisis: "We do not expect output to pass its peak in early 2008 until 2015."
The UK's growth figure for Q1 was supported by strong manufacturing data for February. Output grew by 0.8% after a 1.5% collapse in January due to bad weather.
However, the ONS said the UK's trade deficit soared to £3.6bn in February, from £2.5bn the previous month. Most worrying was a 4.7% fall in exports of goods to non-EU countries.
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