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UK economic recovery picks up momentum
August 24, 2013 , 10 : 15 am GST
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ROBUST DEMAND: Britain’s shrinking net trade deficit dropped to £3.2 billion in the second quarter from a £4.3-billion deficit in the first quarter. Photo — Bloomberg file
Britain's economy grew faster than thought in the second quarter, official data showed yesterday, extending a broadly based recovery.
Gross domestic product (GDP) — the total value of goods and services produced in the economy — grew by 0.7 per cent in the second quarter, the Office for National Statistics said in a statement.
That marked an upgrade from the initial estimate of 0.6-per cent expansion. Growth occurred across all sectors of the economy, with small upward revisions across manufacturing, construction and parts of services.
Second-quarter GDP growth has more than doubled from the 0.3-per cent expansion that was witnessed in the first three months of the year.
The economy expanded by 1.5 per cent in the second quarter, or three months to the end of June, compared with the equivalent period in 2012, the ONS added. That was also up from the previous estimate of 1.4 per cent.
Sterling and the London stock market shrugged off the news. Market expectations had been for no change to both figures, according to analysts polled by Dow Jones Newswires.
Britain's coalition government said the upbeat data showed that the recovery was taking root.
"This data confirms that the British economy is moving from rescue to recovery, supported by balanced growth across the economy," said a Treasury spokesperson. "There is still a long way to go, but the economy is on the right track and the government is committed to its economic plan."
The Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition argues that its ongoing austerity measures are needed to drive down the record budget deficit inherited from the previous Labour administration in 2010. The ONS added that construction activity expanded by 1.4 per cent in the second quarter, up from the initial estimate of 0.9 per cent, as the housing market was partly lifted by state schemes that are aimed at stimulating lending to homebuyers.
Factory output grew 0.7 per cent in the quarter, up from the prior figure of 0.4 per cent, while consumer spending rose 0.4 per cent. There were also upward revisions for output from distribution, hotels and catering firms, as well as business services and finance firms, and the agriculture sector.
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