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GDP Falls as Expected in the U.K.

Britain’s economy shrank in the fourth quarter as exports fell and an uncertain outlook depressed company investment.

Gross domestic product declined 0.3 percent from the three months through September, with net trade knocking 0.1 percentage point from output, the Office for National Statisticssaid today in London. That matched the initial estimate published in January. The ONS revised its full-year data and said the economy grew 0.2 percent in 2012 instead of stagnating.

Britain’s subdued economic outlook prompted Bank of EnglandGovernor Mervyn King and two other policy makers to vote for more quantitative easing this month. The struggle to recover from a recession is also undermining the government’s deficit- reduction program and was cited by Moody’s Investors Service last week when it stripped the nation of its top credit rating.

“Net exports were a drag and consequently there remains little sign of a rebalancing within the economy toward business spending and trade,” said James Knightley, an economist at ING Bank NV in London. “We are hopeful of a return to positive GDP growth in the first quarter given the improvement in business surveys, but it is likely to be modest.”

The pound rose against the dollar and was at $1.5145 as of 10:18 a.m. London time, up 0.1 percent from yesterday….”

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