Data confirms UK economy went into recession last year

By Thomson Reuters Mar 28, 2024 | 2:13 AM

LONDON (Reuters) – Official figures published on Thursday confirmed Britain’s economy entered a recession in the second half of last year.

Gross domestic product shrank by 0.1% in the third quarter and by 0.3% in the fourth quarter, unchanged from preliminary estimates, the Office for National Statistics said.

Britain’s economy has shown signs of starting 2024 on a stronger footing with GDP growing by 0.2% in January from December and unofficial surveys suggesting growth continued in February and March.

However, the country has been slow to recover from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, and its economy stands just 1% bigger than its level of late 2019, with only Germany among Group of Seven nations faring worse.

The Bank of England, which has said British inflation is moving towards the point where it can start cutting interest rates, expects the economy to grow by just 0.25% this year although official budget forecasters expect a 0.8% expansion.

Sterling was little changed against the U.S. dollar and the euro after the data release.

(Reporting by Suban Abdulla; Editing by William Schomberg)