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UK `on brink` of exiting recession: Business body

Last Updated: Tuesday, October 13, 2009 - 14:19

London: Britain is "on the brink" of ending a deep recession after sentiment improved in the third quarter but the economy remains "frail," the British Chamber of Commerce said on Tuesday.

"The Q3 results support our assessment that the UK economy is on the brink of leaving recession," BCC chief economist David Kern said in a statement.

"However, the improvement is not sufficiently strong to allow us to conclude without doubt that GDP has already returned to positive growth."

"The economy is still frail ... the emerging recovery is vulnerable to a setback," Kern added.

The BCC report contrasts with many analysts who believe Britain has exited recession by returning to positive gross domestic product (GDP) growth between July and September.

Britain must wait until October 23 for official data confirming whether the nation has indeed ended its worst recession in decades.

BCC director general David Frost on Tuesday said Britain`s recession was near an end after confidence "strengthened dramatically" in the manufacturing and service sectors during the third quarter.

"In the face of huge challenges, British businesses are showing resilience," he said after the BCC assessed data from more than 5,500 companies.

Britain, like the United States, has yet to officially join other major economies France, Germany and Japan out of recession following the worst global downturn since the 1930s.

British output shrank 0.6 percent in the second quarter of 2009 compared with the first three months of the year, according to the nation`s official statistics body.

The Office for National Statistics cited a stronger-than-expected British construction sector during the three months to the end of June. However, it was still the fifth quarterly contraction in a row amid soaring unemployment levels.

Meanwhile GDP shrank 5.5 percent between April and June compared with the level in the second quarter of 2008, marking the biggest annual drop since records began in 1955.

Bureau Report

First Published: Tuesday, October 13, 2009 - 14:19

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