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Financial News: UK Economy Expands In May

UK Economy Expands In May

07/14/2020 - 02:44:00 (RTTNews)

(RTTNews) - The UK economy expanded in May after contracting the most on record in April, as measures to curb the spread of coronavirus were relaxed, data from the Office for National Statistics showed Tuesday.

Gross domestic product grew 1.8 percent in May from April, when it was down 20.3 percent. However, this was weaker than the expected growth of 5.5 percent.

The dominant service sector grew 0.9 percent after contracting 18.9 percent. The largest positive contributor to the increase was the wholesale, retail and repair of motor vehicles.

Industrial production logged a notable growth of 6 percent, following a 20.2 percent fall. At the same time, manufacturing was up 8.4 percent versus a 24.4 percent drop in the previous month.

Nonetheless, industrial output was 19.1 percent lower than the pre Covid-19 level in February.

Driven by new housing, construction expanded 8.2 percent, in contrast to a record 40.2 percent decrease a month ago.

Meanwhile, farm output fell at a faster pace of 6.2 percent, following April's 5.4 percent drop.

In three months to May, the economy shrank 19.1 percent, following a 10.8 percent fall in April.

Jonathan Athow, Deputy National Statistician for Economic Statistics, said, "Manufacturing and house building showed signs of recovery as some businesses saw staff return to work."

"Despite this, the economy was still a quarter smaller in May than in February, before the full effects of the pandemic struck," Athow added.

Another report from ONS showed that the visible trade deficit narrowed to GBP 2.81 billion from GBP 4.8 billion in April. Exports of goods grew 6.6 percent, while imports fell 1.7 percent.

The surplus on trade in services was largely unchanged at GBP 7.1 billion. Consequently, the total trade surplus surged to GBP 4.3 billion from GBP 2.3 billion in April.

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