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Q3 growth doesn't dispel UK recession fears

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Q3 growth doesn't dispel UK recession fears
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Britain appears to be teetering on the brink of recession, despite stronger-than-expected GDP growth in the third quarter.

It was up 0.5 percent from the previous three months with business services and finance posting increases.

However economists see most of the growth as a rebound from a weak second quarter and a survey of purchasing managers (PMI) showed a sharp fall in manufacturing activity in October.

Factory output declined by its sharpest monthly rate since June 2009 when Britain was still in recession.

The figures increase pressure on the UK government to boost growth as fresh turmoil in the euro zone creates new risks.

Business secretary Vince Cable said on Monday that the country can still avoid recession.

But a string of surveys have painted a bleak picture, with the PMI’s fall hinting that the manufacturing sector made an extremely weak start to the fourth quarter.

Consumer confidence has slumped to levels that previously heralded the start of a recession and the CBI industry lobby’s survey showed that manufacturers suffered the biggest drop in orders in a year and expected to cut production.

With unemployment already at a 17-year high in the three months to August and many households worried about job security and their own finances, the pressure is rising on the government to ease its austerity drive and do more to boost growth.

Chancellor George Osborne’s Treasury is trying to come up with ways to increase growth without compromising the government’s pledge to erase the deficit of some 10 percent of GDP over the next five years.