Business investment slipped in the first three months of the year, as market volatility, shattered confidence and the EU referendum were all blamed for firms failing to dip their hands into their pockets.
Investment by corporates fell by 0.5 per cent between January and March, following a two per cent contraction at the end of 2015, with spending on equipment and real estate both falling.
The total amount spent by firms during the period was £43.1bn, down from £43.3bn in the same three months of last year. While oil and gas firms battening down the hatches were behind the drop in investment at the end of 2015, analysts pointed to a cocktail of uncertainty which dragged on business confidence in 2016.
"Measures of confidence, political uncertainty, orders and investment all point to Brexit risk weighing on the appetites of households and businesses ahead of the [EU referendum] vote," said Kallum Pickering, senior UK economist at Berenberg.
But Scott Bowman at Capital Economics suggests "more is going on, with other temporary factors hitting growth. Business and financial services output decelerated probably drive by the market turmoil and global growth worries to start the year".
The figures were released as part of the second estimate for GDP, which remained unchanged, showing that the UK economy grew by 0.4 per cent in the first three months of the year.
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Disappointing economic data for sectors other than consumer spending is a typical feature of the UK economy. The British Chambers of Commerce warned that "UK growth is unduly reliant on consumer spending", while the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR), said that it was "clear the UK economy remains reliant on domestic consumers for economic growth."
Berenberg's Pickering noted that, assuming the UK votes to stay in the EU, growth should accelerate throughout the rest of the year.