Home U.K Economy growth rebound started in February despite full national lockdown

Economy growth rebound started in February despite full national lockdown


Growth rebounded thanks to a boost in exports, with those to the EU up by £3.7billion following a slump in January. The Office for National Statistics said the 46.6 percent increase was particularly driven by machinery, transport equipment and chemicals. Many deliveries restarted in February after pausing for a month to get to grips with the Brexit border arrangements, while the launch of the third lockdown had also affected January trade.

Imports of goods from the EU also rebounded by £1.2billion – or 7.3 percent – in February.

The ONS earlier this month showed economic output was better than expected in the last six months of 2020.

Both Chancellor Rishi Sunak and Bank of England boss Andrew Bailey have predicted a strong recovery thanks to the vaccine rollout and relaxation of lockdown.

High streets also came back to life on Monday.

Rory Macqueen, principal economist at the NIESR think-tank, said: “Despite little change in restrictions, a return to growth in February and upward revisions to January GDP mean that the contraction in the first quarter will be much smaller than anticipated.

“Clearly much of the economy has adapted to cope with Covid-19 restrictions.

“If the vaccine programme and lifting of restrictions continue on schedule this provides a firm basis for continuing growth in the second quarter and 2021 overall.” ONS data shows the crucial service sector grew by 0.2 percent in February, as wholesale and retail trade sales picked up slightly. Manufacturing grew by 1.3 percent but construction saw the biggest boost at 1.6 per cent.

Estimates of a 2.9 percent fall in output in January were revised upwards, with the drop thought to be 2.2 percent.

Overall GDP went up by 0.4 percent in February but was still 7.8 percent below the level 12 months before.

Federation of Small Businesses chief Mike Cherry said: “This lockdown needs to be the last: better to unlock more slowly than to rush and have a repeat of the damaging chaos suffered in last year’s critical festive trading season.”


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