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News : UK Economy Last Updated: Mar 27, 2013 - 4:15 PM

UK reports weak economic data
By Finfacts Team
Mar 27, 2013 - 4:09 PM

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The UK economy shrank in the final quarter of 2012 in line with previous estimates and industrial production posted its biggest quarterly drop since early 2009, official data has shown.

The Office for National Statistics said GDP (gross domestic product) fell 0.3% in the October-to-December period while the contraction followed a 2.1% decline in industrial production, the biggest fall since the first quarter of 2009.  Compared with a year earlier, GDP grew 0.2%, slightly less than estimated earlier.

Among the main contributors to the decrease in GDP in the latest quarter were gross fixed capital formation which fell by 0.2% in volume terms and the £6.0bn net trade deficit, which follows a £5.3bn net trade deficit in the previous quarter.

Last week, George Osborne, the chancellor of the exchequer, said the independent Office for Budget Responsibility, used by the government, forecast that the UK would see growth of only 0.6% this year, half what it predicted a few months ago.

If the UK's economy contracts this quarter, then it will have fallen back into recession again. An economy is generally considered to be in recession if it contracts for two consecutive quarters.

Separate fourth quarter current account data showed that the UK deficit with the rest of the world stood at £14.037bn sterling - -  above forecasts.

Commenting on the UK balance of payments figures released today by the ONS Chris Cummings, chief executive of TheCityUK, a financial and related professional services said: “The financial services sector continues to drive the UK’s economic growth, and makes the largest single contribution of any sector to the UK’s net exports. However, the weakness in the international economy is reflected in the decrease of the sector’s trade surplus for 2012 to £44.9bn, down by 4% from £46.6bn in 2011.

“More needs to be done to support UK companies as they seek opportunities for growth, which is why we are pleased to be part of the Government’s new Financial Services Trade and Investment Board (FSTIB). The FSTIB brings together HM Treasury, UK Trade & Investment and TheCityUK to identify global trade and investment priorities and support UK based firms as they pursue them.

“The FSTIB will help the UK compete more effectively in the countries and regions that offer the most opportunities for growth, from the BRICS nations and GCC countries to Asian and Latin American economies. However, it’s also crucial that the Government supports these international efforts by maintaining a competitive domestic environment through appropriate tax and regulation, and investment in skills development and infrastructure.”

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