As lockdown eases, UK economy sees 2.3% growth in April

Since May, the UK government has further eased curbs, with people now allowed to eat and drink inside restaurants and bars, having initially been only able to sit outside. PHOTO: AFP

The economy of the United Kingdom expanded by 2.3 percent in April, according to official figures released on Friday, as the Covid-19 ban was eased, boosting consumer demand (11).

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) noted in a statement that it was the quickest monthly output for UK gross domestic product (GDP) since July "as government limitations impacting economic activity continued to loosen."

Overall, the economy shrank by 1.5 percent in the first quarter, while output increased by 2.1 percent in March, signaling the start of a strong recovery.

In April, the UK's overall output was 3.7 percent lower than pre-pandemic levels reported in February of last year.

The service industry grew by 3.4 percent in April, as consumers returned to physical stores, restaurants, and bars after the government loosened restrictions, according to the ONS.

However, output in the manufacturing sector fell 1.3 percent in the same month, owing to extensive oil rig maintenance and a scarcity of computer chips for automakers.

Similarly, after a solid reading in March, the construction industry shrank by 2.0 percent.

The government has lifted regulations even more since May, allowing individuals to dine and drink inside restaurants and bars.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak greeted the report with caution, citing concerns about the Delta variant's proliferation in the UK.

Sunak stated, "Today's (11) results are an encouraging indicator that our economy is beginning to recover."

The emergence of the Delta coronavirus has raised questions about the government's June 21 deadline for further easing of virus prohibitions.

The Delta variation, often known as the Indian variation, is currently the most common strain in the UK, according to Public Health England.

Boris Johnson, the Prime Minister, has suggested that the June 21 deadline may be postponed.

Separate data issued on Friday (11), revealed that trade disruptions with the EU have continued as a result of friction caused by new post-Brexit trade barriers.

In April, British goods exports to the EU were down 7.1% compared to three years ago, while imports from the region were down 15.3%.

After two months of increases, total exports from the United Kingdom decreased by 0.6% in April.

“Given the surge in global trade flows, that is a disappointing performance; UK exporters have lost market share,” said Samuel Tombs, chief UK economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics.

Publish : 2021-06-14 14:41:00

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