GROWTH in the UK is stabilising at above-trend rates, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development has concluded.

The Paris-based think-tank's composite leading indicator (CLI) for the UK economy for March, published yesterday, came in at 101, down from 101.1 in February. CLIs are designed to anticipate turning points in economic activity.

The OECD said: "The CLI indicates that the growth momentum is stabilising at above-trend rates."

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Figures published last month by the Office for National Statistics showed the UK economy grew by 0.8 per cent in the first quarter equivalent to an annualised rate of expansion of 3.2 per cent. This is ahead of the UK's historical average annual rate of growth, put at about 2.75 per cent by Bank of England Governor Mark Carney.

However, the extremely protracted nature of the UK economic recovery is highlighted by the fact that gross domestic product in the first quarter of this year was still adrift of its level in the opening three months of 2008, ahead of the recession.

Howard Archer, chief UK economist at consultancy IHS Global Insight, said: "The OECD's leading indicator for the UK edged down modestly in March, but remained at a relatively elevated level, suggesting that the economy still has decent momentum."

He added: "With the economy confirmed [as] having got off to a robust start to 2014 and with early data and survey evidence for the second quarter looking solid, we believe it will achieve growth of at least three per cent this year. There is a very real and mounting likelihood that growth could come in above three per cent."