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10 Feb, 2023 10:33

British economy narrowly avoids recession – data

GDP showed no growth in the fourth quarter, but contracted by 0.5% in December, official statistics show
British economy narrowly avoids recession – data

The UK economy demonstrated no growth in the fourth quarter of last year, narrowly avoiding recession at the end of 2022, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed on Friday.

Flat GDP, which had been forecast by analysts, followed a 0.3% contraction in the previous quarter. Another contraction would have meant the UK had dropped into a technical recession, with two consecutive quarters of decline.

However, the British economy saw a month-on-month decline of 0.5% in December, the ONS reported.

The contraction, which followed unrevised growth of 0.1% in November, was partially due to early winter snow disruptions and strikes, including a Royal Mail dispute.

The country’s services sector saw flat output in the last quarter, triggered by declines in the education, transport and storage sub-sectors.

Meanwhile, an increase of 0.3% in the construction sector was offset by a 0.2% decline in the production sector from October through December.

“The economy contracted sharply in December meaning, overall, there was no growth in the economy over the last three months of 2022,” ONS director of economic statistics, Darren Morgan, said.

“In December, public services were hit by fewer operations and GP [doctor] visits, partly due to the impact of strikes, as well as notably lower school attendance.”

Overall, GDP increased by an estimated 4% over the course of 2022, following a 7.6% expansion in 2021, as the economy rebounded from the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Despite recent squeezes in household incomes, restaurants, bars and travel agents had a strong year. Meanwhile, health and education also began to recover from the effects of the pandemic,” Morgan said.

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