UK GDP in first quarter shows biggest drop since 1979

UK GDP in first quarter shows biggest drop since 1979

Britain's economy shrank by the most since 1979 in early 2020, according to figures on Tuesday that included the first few days of the coronavirus lockdown.

FILE PHOTO: The Canary Wharf financial district is seen from the construction site of 22 Bishopsgat
FILE PHOTO: The Canary Wharf financial district is seen from the construction site of 22 Bishopsgate in London, Britain June 25, 2019. REUTERS/Hannah McKay/File Photo

LONDON: Britain's economy shrank by the most since 1979 in early 2020, according to figures on Tuesday that included the first few days of the coronavirus lockdown.

The Office for National Statistics said gross domestic product dropped by a quarterly 2.2per cent in the first three months of 2020, below the median forecast in a Reuters poll of economists for a fall of 2.0per cent.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson will set out his plan to speed up the British economy's recovery later on Tuesday when he will promise to fast-track 5 billion pounds of infrastructure investment.

The ONS also said Britain's current account deficit widened by more than expected in the first three months of 2020.

The balance of payments deficit - a long-standing concern for investors because it leaves Britain reliant on foreign inflows of cash - grew to 21.1 billion pounds (US$25.9 billion) in the first quarter, compared with a median forecast of 15.4 billion pounds in a Reuters poll of economists.

(US$1 = 0.8147 pounds)

(Reporting by Andy Bruce; Editing by William Schomberg)

Source: Reuters

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