British economy slows down sharply amid acute Brexit unease

Brexit day is March 29, 2019. (File/AFP)
Updated 11 February 2019
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British economy slows down sharply amid acute Brexit unease

  • Over 2018 as a whole, the British economy grew by 1.4 percent, its lowest rate since 2009
  • The British economy has largely held up better than many people expected

LONDON: Official figures show that the British economy slowed sharply in the last three months of 2018 as uncertainties over Brexit intensified.
The Office for National Statistics said Monday that the British economy grew by a quarterly rate of only 0.2 percent during the fourth quarter, down from the 0.6 percent tick recorded in the previous three-month period.
Over 2018 as a whole, the British economy grew by 1.4 percent, its lowest rate since 2009 and the aftermath of the global financial crisis.
The British economy has largely held up better than many people expected in the immediate aftermath of the country’s vote to leave the European Union in June 2016.
However, there’s mounting evidence that as Brexit day draws nearer — March 29 — firms are getting increasingly edgy.


Turkey set to begin oil and gas drilling off Cyprus

Updated 21 February 2019
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Turkey set to begin oil and gas drilling off Cyprus

  • “In the coming days we will start drilling with two ships around Cyprus,” Turkish foreign minister said
  • Turkey and the Cypriot government have overlapping claims of jurisdiction in the eastern Mediterranean

ISTANBUL: Turkey will begin drilling for oil and gas near Cyprus in coming days, state-owned news agency Anadolu reported Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu saying on Thursday, a move that could stoke tensions with neighboring Cyprus and Greece.
Turkey and the internationally recognized Greek Cypriot government have overlapping claims of jurisdiction for offshore oil and gas research in the eastern Mediterranean, a region thought to be rich in natural gas.
“In the coming days we will start drilling with two ships around Cyprus,” Cavusoglu was quoted as saying in a speech to a business conference in western Turkey’s Aydin province.
“Let those who come to the region from far away, and their companies, see that nothing can be done in that region without us. Nothing at all can be done in the Mediterranean without Turkey, we will not allow that,” Cavusoglu said.
Turkey launched its first drillship “Fatih” in October to drill off the coast of Turkey’s southern Antalya province. It said a second ship that it purchased would operate in the Black Sea, but was diverted to the Cyprus area.
Breakaway north Cyprus, which is supported by Turkey, says any offshore wealth also belongs to them, as partners in the establishment of the Republic of Cyprus in 1960.
The island was divided in 1974 after a Turkish invasion triggered by a brief Greek-inspired coup. Countless peacemaking endeavours have failed, and offshore wealth has increasingly complicated peace negotiations, with Greek Cypriots saying the matter is not up for discussion.