UK economy grew faster than estimated since Covid

The UK’s economy has grown faster since the start of the Covid pandemic than initially thought, new figures show.

Revised data indicates that the UK has seen faster growth than France or Germany since the end of 2019.

The growth figures had been expected to be upgraded, after the Office for National Statistics (ONS) published new estimates earlier this month of how the economy had performed since Covid.

However, analysts said the UK was still suffering from lackluster growth.

The latest figures from the ONS indicated that the UK’s economy has grown by 1.8% since the pandemic started, whereas the previous estimate was a 0.2% contraction.

They also showed that the economy grew by 0.3% in the first three months of this year, up from the 0.1% previously estimated.

The estimate for the April-to-June quarter was unchanged at 0.2%.

Following the latest set of revisions, ONS chief economist Grant Fitzner said the UK’s growth rate was “almost unrevised over the last 18 months”.

The size of an economy is measured by Gross Domestic Product, or GDP, which tries to cover all the activity of companies, governments and individuals in a country.

The ONS revises GDP figures over time as it receives more information about how the economy performed.

Earlier this month, the ONS had said that “richer data” from its annual survey meant that it now estimated the UK economy was larger than previously estimated in the final three months of 2021 compared to pre-pandemic levels.

The latest set of figures, means the UK’s growth since the pandemic exceeds that of 1.7% in France and 0.2% in Germany.

Responding to the new data, Chancellor Jeremy Hunt said: “We know that the British economy recovered faster from the pandemic than anyone previously thought and data out today once again proves the doubters wrong.

“We were among the fastest countries in the G7 to recover from the pandemic and since 2020 we have grown faster than France and Germany.”

However, Ruth Gregory, deputy chief UK economist at Capital Economics, said the latest ONS release “changes very little”.

“The data leaves the economy still only 0.6% above its level a year ago,” she said.

“It does not change the big picture that the economy has lagged behind all other G7 countries aside from Germany and France since the pandemic. And that’s before the full drag from higher interest rates has been felt.”

Samuel Tombs, chief UK economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, noted that when it came to international comparisons, “a stable picture might take some time to emerge, given that statistical authorities in other countries are revising their data too”.

The most recent GDP figures showed that the economy shrank by 0.5% in July, due to a combination of strike action and the impact of wet weather, and there have been concerns over the economy’s weak performance in recent months.

However, Mr Tombs said he thought that the UK would avoid a recession in the second half of this year, helped by the recent slowdown in the rate of consumer price rises.

(Source: BBC)


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