Britain's economy slowed in the three months to September, official data confirmed today, as trade posed the biggest drag on quarterly growth on record against the backdrop of a slowing global economy. 

The UK economy grew 0.5% in the third quarter, the Office for National Statistics said, confirming a preliminary reading.

The growth rate slowed from 0.7% growth between April and June and was in line with a forecast in a Reuters poll. 

The UK growth figure was 2.3% higher than a year ago, down from 2.4% in the second quarter and showing the economy had slowed from last year's rapid 2.9% rate which outstripped those of other major advanced economies. 

Trade lopped 1.5 percentage points off growth in the third quarter, a sharp turnaround from a contribution of 1.4 percentage points in the second quarter, as imports saw their biggest growth in nearly 10 years. 

The slowdown in Britain's recovery reflects a global economic slowdown led by emerging markets such as China. British exporters have also struggled with a rise in sterling this year.