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News : UK Economy Last Updated: Feb 27, 2013 - 3:31 PM

UK economy grew by 0.2% in 2012
By Finfacts Team
Feb 27, 2013 - 3:25 PM

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The UK economy grew by more than previously thought in 2012, official figures have shown. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) revised its growth estimate [pdf] for the year up from no growth to 0.2%.

But the figure for the last three months of the year was left unchanged at a quarterly contraction of 0.3%.

The ONS said GDP decreased by 0.3% in the fourth quarter of 2012, unrevised from the preliminary estimate. The economic story for the quarter is unchanged from the previous estimate, with the decline mainly reflecting three factors: maintenance at the UK’s largest North Sea oil field, a ‘fall-back’ effect from the Olympic and Paralympic Games and underlying weak domestic demand.

TheONS said North Sea oil field maintenance has had a clear effect in the ‘mining & quarrying including oil & gas extraction’ industry, with an 11.0% fall in quarterly growth, a downward revision of 0.8 percentage points from the preliminary estimate. The fall-back from the Olympic and Paralympic Games is less evident, but is suggested by a quarterly decline of 5.1% in ‘other services’, the sector which contained Olympic ticket sales during the third quarter.

Domestic demand is relatively flat on the quarter, with household final consumption expenditure showing only slight growth of 0.2% from the third quarter. The income components of GDP reveal one of the most pressing sources of the continued weak demand, where slow growth in compensation of employees is likely to be restricting households’ spending power. Further, the lack of demand can be seen in corporations’ gross operating surplus data; although the Olympic and Paralympic Games and the Diamond Jubilee had an effect on the growth figures throughout the year, the level of gross operating surplus was roughly the same as it was in the first quarter. ONS published a monthly Economic Review discussing the economic background giving economic commentary on the latest GDP estimate and other ONS economic releases. The next article will be published on 7 March 2013.

Last Friday, Moody's, the credit rating agency, downgraded its rating of the UK economy over fears that growth would "remain sluggish over the next few years".

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