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UK slowdown fears mount as GDP unexpectedly shrinks in April

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A man wearing a face mask walks along the River Mersey with the Liverpool skyline amid the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Seacombe, Britain, October 12, 2020. REUTERS/Phil Noble

LONDON (Reuters) -Britain’s economy unexpectedly shrank by a monthly 0.3% in April, official figures showed on Monday, adding to fears of a slowdown three days before the Bank of England announces the scale of its latest interest rate response to the surge in inflation.

Economists polled by Reuters had on average expected gross domestic product (GDP) to grow by 0.1% in April from March.

The Office for National Statistics said the data represented the first time that all main economic sectors had contributed negatively to a monthly GDP estimate since January 2021.

However, GDP would have grown by 0.1% excluding the impact of a scaling back of the government coronavirus test-and-trace and vaccination programmes, the ONS said

Over the three months to April, GDP was up by 0.2%, slowing sharply from growth of 0.8% in the three months to March. The Reuters poll had pointed to 0.4% growth in the February-April period.

Some economists said before Monday’s data they had expected April’s jump in domestic power tariffs and an increase in taxes paid by workers introduced during the month to impact the monthly GDP data only in May.

(Reporting William Schomberg and Andy Bruce; editing by Kylie MacLellan)

UK economy shrinks 0.3% in April, raising slowdown concerns

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