UK economy shrinks at fastest pace in 100 years: ONS

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, February 13, 2021
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The British economy shrunk faster than at any point in 100 years in 2020, as headline gross domestic product (GDP) dropped by 9.9 percent, according to new data from the British Office for National Statistics.

The last quarter of 2020 saw a rise of 1.0 percent in GDP but was sharply down on the 16.1 percent growth seen in the previous three months, said the ONS Friday.

Monthly GDP increased by 1.2 percent during December 2020 -- as the two-week reopening of many shops and restaurants gave the economy a pre-Christmas lift -- but remained 6.3 percent below February 2020 levels, said the ONS.

"Loosening of restrictions in many parts of the UK saw elements of the economy recover some lost ground in December, with hospitality, car sales and hairdressers all seeing growth. An increase in COVID-19 testing and tracing also boosted output," said ONS Deputy National Statistician for Economic Statistics Jonathan Athow.

Meanwhile, chief economist at the Bank of England Andy Haldane on Friday insisted that the British economy is a "coiled spring" poised to rebound as vaccines take effect and lockdown is eased.

However, not all economists in Britain are so optimistic, as there are serious concerns about how 2021 will go, with some predicting a mass surge in unemployment once furlough schemes end.

The ONS figures came as Britain recorded another 13,494 coronavirus cases and 678 coronavirus-related deaths on Thursday.

England is currently under the third national lockdown since outbreak of the pandemic in the country. Similar restriction measures are also in place in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

To bring life back to normal, countries such as Britain, China, Germany, Russia and the United States have been racing against time to roll out coronavirus vaccines. 

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