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UK economic growth figures revised but still weak

UK economic growth figures revised but still weak
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Britain’s economy shrank slightly less than previously estimated at the end of last year, however the latest revised figures show gross domestic product still suffered its biggest drop since 2009.

The UK Office for National Statistics said GDP contracted by 0.5 percent in the final three months of 2010. That underlines the uncertain nature of the economic recovery in the UK.

The figures did not change the view of economists that first-quarter GDP data due next month will be the key to whether the Bank of England raises interest rates in the first half of this year.

They also illustrate the economy’s vulnerability as the British government embarks on a tough austerity programme.

“It’s still a pretty lacklustre backdrop and that probably sets the tone for the first half of this year,” said Ross Walker, an economist at Royal Bank of Scotland.

Year-on-year, Britain’s fourth-quarter GDP growth was unrevised at 1.5 percent.