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GDP rises by just 0.2% in first quarter

The UK economy disappoin-ted with GDP growth of only 0.2 per cent in the first quarter of this year compared with a rise of 0.4 per cent in the final quarter of 2009.

According to the Office for National Statistics, the poor performance was particularly pronounced in services, alth-ough the figures may be rev-ised at a later date.

In its first estimate of GDP for the last quarter of 2009, the ONS estimated GDP growth of 0.1 per cent, which was later revised up to 0.4 per cent.

Total services output in the first quarter rose by just 0.2 per cent compared with a rise of 0.5 per cent in the previous quarter. The ONS says distribution, hotels and restaurants fell by 0.7 per cent compared with an increase of 1.9 per cent in the fourth quarter of last year. However, it adds that there was increased growth in business services and finance, which rose by 0.6 per cent in the first quarter compared with an increase of 0.4 per cent in the fourth quarter.

Government and other services showed zero growth compared with a decline of 0.1 per cent in the previous quarter.

Schroders European economist Azad Zangana says: “The City had expected GDP growth of 0.4 per cent for the first quarter although we were looking for weaker growth – 0.3 per cent – due to the poor weather in January and higher than expected inflation, which appears to be depressing growth in real terms.”


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