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MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia’s economic growth slowed for the first time in a year in the first three months of this year, but the economy’s expansion may still bounce back in early 2017, a senior official said.

With most of the central and eastern regions struggling with an acute shortage of raw materials, Russia’s central bank cut interest rates in November and plans to increase them, hoping for a more robust recovery.

Economists polled by Reuters expect GDP growth to rise just 0.3 percent in the first quarter, compared with an early year reading of 0.5 percent in the fourth quarter. (Reporting by Alexander Winning; Writing by Michael Nuzzo; Editing by Andrew Osborn)

LONDON (Reuters) – British officials are working hard to secure a deal to allow Britain to leave the European Union after Britain triggers divorce proceedings which require it to leave the single market and customs union within two years, London’s top Brexit negotiator said.

The UK Independence Party (UKIP) leader Nigel Farage arrives for a referendum campaign events, at his election manifesto launch in Rochester, northern England May 27, 2014. REUTERS/Reinhard Krause

Nigel Farage, leader of Britain’s eurosceptic, anti-immigration UK Independence Party (UKIP), has frequently suggested that Brexit could bring economic benefits to Britain, but on Wednesday he appeared to hint at a possible move away from the EU in the upcoming negotiation.

Speaking on Sky News, Farage was asked about his future plans. “Brexit is going through,” he said, adding: “I’ll be fighting. I will be taking the fight to the British people in the referendum.”

In an interview with a German newspaper, however, the UKIP leader said Britain was “only months away” from leaving and he was convinced Brexit was inevitable, despite warnings from his leaders to get Brexit in shape as early as possible.

“There will be no negotiations, there will be a deal. I’m sure we can get that over the line. If everyone agrees that, a deal can just happen,” Farage told Bild, which did not name the newspaper.

“There are no surprises after that as there are plenty of surprises in the next months and years.”

Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May and her team have been working with EU negotiators since November in an attempt to secure a deal which would allow the UK to leave the European Union with less turbulence – but allow