UK economy shrinks less than originally

UK economy shrinks less than originally thought

The UK economy contracted less than originally thought in the second quarter of 2012, revised figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) have shown.

UK GDP shrank by 0.4 per cent in the period April to June, revised down from an initial estimation of 0.7 per cent and a second revision of 0.5 per cent last month.

The construction industry remained the biggest drag on the economy, with output falling by 3 per cent, despite being revised up from the initial fall of 5.2 per cent and a second of 3.9 per cent.

The new figures, which show a smaller than previously estimated fall in the production, manufacturing and construction sectors, indicate that the double dip recession is not as deep as first feared.

The ONS’s preliminary figures are based on incomplete data and are often revised as more information becomes available.

Economists have said that data for the second quarter was difficult to forecast due to the extra bank holidays.

The British economy is now in its third consecutive quarter of recession and continues to face pressure from the Eurozone crisis and the Government’s austerity measures.

Talking to Channel 4 last week, the Bank of England Chancellor Mervyn King said that next quarter would probably show an improvement in activity, although recovery would be slow.

Elsewhere, latest figures from the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) also revealed that the retail sector had seen a modest rise in sales during September.

Manufacturing organisation EEF said the figures offered some hope for manufacturing, with senior economist Andrew Johnson also hoping to see a return to growth for the sector in the second half of the year, ‘despite tough economic conditions.

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