UK GDP grows 2.3 pct monthly in April as lockdown eases

2021-06-11 14:06:02 GMT2021-06-11 22:06:02(Beijing Time) Xinhua English

LONDON, June 11 (Xinhua) -- Britain's gross domestic product (GDP) is estimated to have grown by 2.3 percent in April 2021 -- the fastest monthly growth since July 2020 -- as COVID-19 lockdown eased, the British Office for National Statistics (ONS) said Friday.

In April, the service sector grew by 3.4 percent month-on-month, whereas output in the production and construction sector fell by 1.3 percent and 2.0 percent respectively, the ONS said.

Meanwhile, April's GDP remained 3.7 percent below the pre-pandemic level seen in February 2020, said the ONS.

"Services have been the main contributor to GDP's recovery in recent months, following large falls in January because of coronavirus restrictions," said the ONS.

Thomas Pugh, an economist at the London-based economic analysis firm Capital Economics, said "the jump in GDP in April was another sign that consumers are raring to spend as the economy reopens."

Howard Archer, chief economic advisor to the EY ITEM Club, an economics forecasting group in Britain, said the strongest monthly growth performance in April since last July was "clearly benefited from the easing of restrictions on 12 April. This notably included the re-opening of non-essential retailers."

Analysts voiced their optimism for the British economy in the coming months due to further easing of restrictions and vaccine rollouts.

"All the early indicators suggest that GDP growth was strong in May as well," said Pugh, adding that "as such, our forecast of the economy regaining its pre-pandemic level by the autumn is on track."

Archer said the economy "looks to have performed well in May as it fully benefited from April's easing of restrictions, while there was a further easing on 17 May which helped the hospitality sector."

"Following a first quarter GDP contraction, the economy looks well on course for a very healthy rebound in the second quarter given reduced restrictions and the ongoing successful roll-out of COVID-19 vaccines," added Archer.

"The EY ITEM Club expects the economy to grow by around 5 percent quarter-on-quarter in the second quarter, and by 6.8 percent over 2021. However, there currently look to be mounting upside risks to the forecast," said Archer.

Britain reported another 7,393 COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours, bringing the total number of coronavirus cases in the country to 4,542,986, according to official figures released Thursday.

The country also recorded another seven coronavirus-related deaths, bringing the total number of coronavirus-related deaths in Britain to 127,867. These figures only include the deaths of people who died within 28 days of their first positive test.

To bring life back to normal, countries such as Britain, China, Germany, Russia and the United States are racing against time to develop coronavirus vaccines. Enditem