UK economy suffers record 9.9% slump

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Britain's coronavirus-ravaged economy shrank 9.9 per cent in 2020, the biggest annual fall in output since modern records began, but avoided heading back towards recession in the final quarter of the year, official figures show.

Britain's gross domestic product (GDP) grew 1.0 per cent between October and December versus the previous quarter, the Office for National Statistics said on Friday, compared with forecasts in a Reuters poll of economists for growth of 0.5 per cent.

This makes it unlikely that Britain will see two straight quarters of contraction - the standard definition of recession in Europe - even though the economy is set to shrink sharply in early 2021 due to the effects of a third COVID lockdown.