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UK growth revised down

UK growth revised down
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Britain’s economy shrank more than previously thought at the end of last year.

Updated numbers from the UK’s Office for National Statistics show GDP contracted by 0.3 percent between October and December.

That means growth for all of last year was just 0.5 percent.

The ONS said the downward revision to fourth quarter GDP was driven by the transport and communication and business services and financial sectors.

The services sector was particularly weak and the figures add to concerns over Britain’s ability to return to growth in the early part of this year.

Most economists are pencilling in a small rise in first quarter GDP. But some also believe that weak construction and consumption data in recent weeks, along with the prospect of disruption in the second quarter due to an additional public holiday, strengthen the argument for the Bank of England to inject more stimulus to boost growth.

The central bank restarted its quantitative easing programme last October and is half way through its latest 50 billion pound tranche of asset purchases. Most economists reckon it will call a halt to the 325 billion pound programme when it finishes in May.

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