February 28, 2017 / 1:10 PM / 6 months ago

UK finance minister hopes trade, investment will drive 2017 growth

Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond leaves 11 Downing Street, London, January 31, 2017.Peter Nicholls

LONDON (Reuters) - British finance minister Philip Hammond said on Tuesday that he hoped trade and investment would play a bigger role in driving British economic growth in 2017 after the unexpectedly strong consumer spending that followed last year's Brexit vote.

"Consumer borrowing and consumer spending have been an important component of the robustness of the economy over the last few months. What I hope to see over the course of 2017 is business investment and exports providing a greater share of growth," he told parliament.

Next week Hammond will present updated growth and borrowing figures which economists expect will reflect better-than-expected economic growth over the last few months and show slightly less of a shortfall in the public finances then predicted.

Hammond also said he favored standard government debt - rather than separate infrastructure bonds - to fund future public investment, though he remained happy to offer public guarantees to certain private-sector infrastructure finance.

Reporting by David Milliken; Editing by William Schomberg

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