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UK GDP fell by a record 20.4% in the second quarter



An advertising board showing official coronavirus test and trace advice from the UK government.

Mike Kemp | In points through Getty Images

The UK economy contracted by 20.4% in the second quarter of 2020, compared to the previous three months, as coronavirus-induced stalled activity blocked activity, according to preliminary figures released on Wednesday.

GDP (gross domestic product) expanded by 8.7% in June as government freezing measures eased, showing a mild recovery of 1

.8% in May after shrinking to 20.4% in April.

The dive in the second quarter is the worst in the record and after a 2.2% contraction in the first quarter. Analysts had expected a 20.5% drop, according to a Reuters poll. Two consecutive periods of contraction means that the British economy is now in a technical rescue

Services, construction and manufacturing have seen record quarterly declines, especially in the sectors most exposed to government restrictions, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

“The economy started to jump back in June with the reopening of stores, factories started to increase production and house building while continuing to recover,” said Jonathan Athow, deputy director of National Economic Statistics.

“Despite this, GDP in June still remains one-sixth below its level in February, before the virus hit.”

In level terms, real GDP was last lower in the second quarter of 2003, while compared to the second quarter of 2019, the UK economy fell by 21.7%.

The ONS noted that its estimates are subject to greater uncertainty than usual, due to the difficulties they face in collecting data due to public health constraints.


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