UK Economy Exits Recession With Forecast-Beating GDP Increase

The UK economy grew by more than expected in March and in the first quarter of 2024, exiting an apparent technical recession, official figures showed today.

UK gross domestic product increased by 0.4% in March from February, the Office for National Statistics reported. This was ahead of FXStreet-cited market consensus of 0.1% growth. UK gross domestic product (GDP) had expanded by 0.2% on-month in February, according to revised data from the ONS.

In the first quarter of 2024, GDP is estimated to have grown by 0.6%, beating expectations of a 0.4% increase and following a 0.3% decline in the fourth quarter of 2023 and a 0.1% decline in the third quarter.

These combined third and fourth quarter figures were enough to push the UK into a technical recession, usually classed as two or more consecutive quarters of negative GDP growth.

Compared with the same quarter a year ago, GDP rose 0.2%.

The ONS also said that industrial production increased by 0.2% in March from February. It was expected to decline by 0.5%, according to FXStreet. Production had risen by 1.0% in February from January.

On an annual basis, industrial production improved by 0.5% in March, having risen by 1.0% a month earlier.

Data on Friday also showed the UK trade deficit narrowed to £1.10 billion in March from £2.29 billion in February, as imports fell at a faster pace than exports.

The value of goods imports declined by 2.5% in March, because of lower imports of machinery and transport equipment and fuels.

The value of goods exports decreased by 1.3%, with a fall in exports to non-EU countries partially offset by a rise in exports to the EU.

By Greg Rosenvinge, Alliance News senior reporter



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