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Britain never in double-dip recession: Report

Last Updated: Friday, June 28, 2013 - 08:53

London: Britain's economy expanded by 0.3 percent in the first quarter of 2013, and never experienced a double-dip recession as previously thought, official data showed on Friday.

Gross domestic product (GDP) grew in the January-March period, after falling by 0.3 percent in the final three months of 2012, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said, confirming its two previous readings.

"UK gross domestic product (GDP) in volume terms was estimated to have increased by 0.3 percent between the fourth quarter of 2012 and the first quarter of 2013, unrevised from the previous publication," the ONS said in a statement.

It added that a nine-month contraction at the end of 2011 and beginning of 2012 never actually happened, following revisions to the period's data.

This meant that Britain did not in fact experience two recessions in quick succession.

However, the ONS also revealed that Britain's recession following the 2008 global financial crisis was far worse than previously thought.

British GDP was now estimated to have plunged by 7.2 percent from peak to trough, against the 6.3-percent fall that was previously given.

"The good news is that the UK double dip recession of 2011-12 has been wiped from history," said Howard Archer, chief European economist at the IHS Global Insight research group.

"The bad news is that the 2008-9 recession was deeper than previously reported."

He added: "There was also mixed news on latest developments in the economy. GDP growth was confirmed at 0.3 percent quarter-on-quarter in the first quarter but the year-on-year growth rate was halved to 0.6 percent."

The steeper 2008-2009 recession means that the economy is now even further behind its pre-crisis level, according to the ONS.

GDP is now 3.9 percent lower than its peak in the first quarter of 2008. It was previously thought to be 2.6 percent below the peak level.

"The headlines are likely to surround the fact that the UK now no longer suffered an official double-dip recession," added Barclays analyst Simon Hayes.

"However, the hit to activity in the immediate aftermath of the financial crisis was much larger than previously estimated."


First Published: Friday, June 28, 2013 - 08:53
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