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UK economy exits recession ahead of election – Times of India

WorldUK economy exits recession ahead of election - Times of India

NEW DELHI: Britain came out of recession with growth that was stronger than expected in the first quarter of 2024. Official data released on Friday provided a boost to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, who is facing challenges ahead of the upcoming election.
Gross domestic product expanded by 0.6 percent in the first three months of this year, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said in a statement, beating market expectations of 0.4 percent.
The economy experienced two quarters of decline in the latter part of last year, which officially qualifies as a recession due to high inflation and a cost-of-living challenge.
Sunak, from the governing Conservatives, is behind the main opposition Labour Party before a general election. He has prioritized economic growth.
“There is no doubt it has been a difficult few years, but today’s growth figures are proof that the economy is returning to full health for the first time since the pandemic,” said finance minister Jeremy Hunt.
“We’re growing this year and have the best outlook among European G7 countries over the next six years,” he added.
Friday’s positive news arrived the day after the Bank of England maintained its main interest rate at a 16-year peak, but suggested a potential reduction during the summer as UK inflation continues to decrease — and predicted recovery from the recession.
“After two quarters of contraction, the UK economy returned to positive growth in the first three months of this year,” said ONS director of economic statistics Liz McKeown.
“There was broad-based strength across the service industries with retail, public transport and haulage, and health all performing well.
“Car manufacturers also had a good quarter. These results were slightly affected by another poor quarter in the construction sector.
The Gross Domestic Product had decreased by 0.3 percent in the fourth quarter of 2023 following a contraction of 0.1 percent in the previous three months.

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