Data show Britain’s ‘double-dip’ recession never was

AFP-JIJI

Britain’s economy expanded by 0.3 percent in the first quarter of 2013 and never experienced a double-dip recession as previously thought, official data showed Thursday.

Gross domestic product rebounded in the January-March period after falling by 0.3 percent in the final three months of 2012, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said, confirming its two previous readings. “U.K. gross domestic product in volume terms was estimated to have increased by 0.3 percent between the fourth quarter of 2012 and the first quarter of 2013,” the ONS said in a statement.

The office added that, following revisions to the data, a previously believed nine-month contraction at the end of 2011 and beginning of 2012 did not actually take place.

This meant that Britain did not in fact experience two recessions in quick succession.

However, the ONS also revealed that the nation’s recession after the 2008 financial crisis was far worse than originally estimated. British GDP is now estimated to have plunged 7.2 percent from peak to trough, against the 6.3 percent fall previously given for this period.

“The good news is that the U.K. double-dip recession of 2011-2012 has been wiped from history,” said Howard Archer, chief European economist at the IHS Global Insight research group. “The bad news is that the 2008-2009 recession was deeper than previously reported.”

The country’s GDP is now 3.9 percent lower than its peak in the first quarter of 2008. It was previously thought to be 2.6 percent below that level.