British economy sees deepest quarterly contraction since 1955

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The British economy has recorded the deepest quarterly contraction since records began in 1955 amid the impact of COVID-19 outbreak, as the gross domestic product plunged by 20.4 percent in the second quarter of 2020, said the Office for National Statistics Wednesday.

Data revealed that the country’s GDP was estimated to fall by 20.4 percent from April to June 2020 compared with the first quarter, marking the second consecutive quarterly decline after it dropped by 2.2 percent in the first three months 2020.

“This is the largest quarterly contraction in the UK economy since Office for National Statistics (ONS) quarterly records began in 1955,” said the official statistics body, adding that it reflected lockdown restrictions that had been put in place in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

The decline in Q2 showed widespread falls of output in the services, production and construction sectors, with quarterly loses at 19.9 percent, 16.9 percent and 20.2 percent respectively.

“The recession brought on by the coronavirus pandemic has led to the biggest fall in quarterly GDP on record,” said Jonathan Athow, ONS deputy national statistical for economic statistics.

ONS stated although these early estimates are likely revised, but “it is clear that the UK is in the largest recession on record.”
“Hospitality was worst hit, with productivity in that industry falling by three quarters in recent months,” Athow added.

Meanwhile, figures showed that GDP rebounded in June, while it was still well below the levels seen in February.

“The British economy began to bounce back in June with shops reopening, factories beginning to ramp up production and housebuilding continuing to recover,” said Athow, adding that “despite this, GDP in June still remains a sixth below its level in February, before the virus struck.”

Last week, the Bank of England, Britain’s central bank, expected the GDP to shrink by 9.5 percent this year, and it “is not projected to exceed its level in 2019 Q4 until the end of 2021.”

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